I've taken many cuttings of various plants, and in general have had success dipping in rooting agent and putting the cutting in water. I was delighted to discover that you can also take cuttings from most trees, but when I looked up the method for magnolia propagation it seemed unintuitive. I was instructed to place the cutting in a small pot filled with perlite, then seal in a plastic bag and spritz every 10 days. I understand that some plants prefer less water, but I was surprised that I wasn't supposed to give it at least an initial watering. I would expect the bone-dry perlite to, if anything, pull out water from the cutting tip. Can anyone explain the reasoning here? Would it be impossible to propagate a magnolia in water? Are there any sorts of general methods I can apply to propagating other trees?
Magnolias cuttings take a long time to root. Keeping a cutting in water for maybe 6 or 9 months isn't going to be problem-free.
I guess somebody has found a "magic method" that works for them (or did work, the one and only time they tried it!)
If you want to propagate magnolias, layering is easy and more reliable than cuttings, though it may take 12 months to get a new plant that can survive on its own root system.