Answer: Magnolia virginiana is also called Sweetbay magnolia or Swamp magnolia. It is hardy in Zones 5-9. This plant has a conical narrow, rounded crown; multistemmed; upright spreading habit, growing to a height of 10 to 60' and a width: 10 to 20'. the leaves are 3 to 5" light gray green above; underside of leaf is blue-white to silvery. Although the foliage is fragrant, it is not the same as the bay leaves used for cooking.
The Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis) is the plant you'll want for bay leaves. It is hardy in Zones 8-11. It can be grown outside in the ground only if the temperature does not go below 25 degrees.
Hope this information is helpful!
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