Magnesium has attracted some attention in orthopedics due to its biodegradability and mechanical properties. Since magnesium is an essential natural mineral for bone growth, it can be expected that as a biomaterial, it would support bone formation. However, upon degradation in the body, magnesium releases OH- which results in an alkaline pH that can be detrimental to cell density (for example, osteoblasts or bone forming cells). For this reason, modification of magnesium may be necessary to compensate for such detrimental effects to cells. This study created biologically inspired nanoscale surface features on magnesium by soaking magnesium in various concentrations of NaOH (from 1 to 10 N) and for various periods of time (from 10 to 30 min). The results provided the first evidence of increased roughness, surface energy, and consequently greater osteoblast adhesion, after 4 h as well as density up to 7 days on magnesium treated with any concentration of NaOH for any length of time compared to untreated controls. For these reasons, this study suggests that soaking magnesium in NaOH could be an inexpensive, simple and effective manner to promote osteoblast functions for numerous orthopedic applications and, thus, should be further studied.