PlantsMagnolias→Sweet Bay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Sweet Bay Magnolia
Give a thumbs up Sweetbay magnolia
Give a thumbs up Sweetbay
Give a thumbs up Swampbay
Give a thumbs up Silver Bay
Give a thumbs up Swamp Bay
Give a thumbs up Laurel Magnolia
Give a thumbs up Magnolia

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 10a
Plant Height: 20 to 30 feet (6-9m)
Plant Spread: 10 to 20 feet (3-6m)
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: Attracts birds and other animals
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: 2"-3"
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Flowering Tree
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Flood Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Other: Softwood cuttings
Pollinators: Beetles
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Monoecious


ATP Podcast #12: Gardening for Birds, Bees, and ButterfliesATP Podcast #12: Gardening for Birds, Bees, and Butterflies
By dave on April 3, 2013

Join us for an exciting episode where we talk all about birds, hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. We discuss how to attract and take care of these wonderful creatures, including what plants to grow. We also include a collection of tips and ideas for your flying friends.

(Full article5 comments)
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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 29, 2018 7:26 PM

Sweetbay Magnolia is usually a small tree in most of its native range, but in the North it can be a large shrub. Its glossy dark green leaves that are silvery beneath are usually evergreen, but are semi-evergreen to deciduous in the North. My evergreen specimen in southeast Pennsylvania drops some leaves much of the year, and it renews its leaves that fall off a lot in late March into early June to be replaced by the new season's leaves. It bears waxy, white solitary flowers to 3 inches wide in late May & June and a few in a small amount in July & August, and wonderfully sweetly fragrant. It then bears red follicle clusters that open with red seeds in September & October that are eaten by some birds, especially catbirds. The bark is smooth and gay to brown-gray. It grows in bogs, swamps, and bottomlands from Long Island & coastal New Jersey down the Atlantic Coast into southern Florida and then along the Gulf Coast into eastern Texas. It grows about 1.5 to 2 feet/year and should live about 100 years. It forms fibrous, deep coarse lateral roots and is sort of difficult to transplant. It is sold by a good number of nurseries in the South and the Mid-Atlantic Region, and sometimes in the Northeast and Midwest, and by native plant nurseries. I bought one in a 5 gallon container from a native plant nursery in southeast PA that grew fast in my backyard and is about 30 feet high in 2018. I've seen some as large shrubs in the Chicago, IL, area doing well in neutral pH soils.

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Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Dec 16, 2013 7:55 PM

Birds feed on the fruit and disperse seeds in their droppings.

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