Prized for its fragrant flowers, showy conelike fruit, handsome foliage, and smooth gray bark, Magnolia virginiana (Sweet Bay Magnolia) can be grown as a graceful, slender tree or as a multi-stemmed shrub. Evergreen to semi-evergreen in mild climates, the foliage of lanceolate shiny green leaves glimmers in the wind as a result of their silvery undersides. Solitary, lemon scented, cup-shaped flowers, 3 in. across (7 cm), appear in mid-spring and bloom sporadically throughout the summer. Adorned with 9-12 velvety, creamy-white petals, each flower open in the morning and close at night. They are followed by showy, cone-like fruits with bright red seeds. Slow-growing, with no serious disease or insect problems, this Magnolia is perfect for a small patio or as a specimen tree.
- Grows with a rounded, spreading habit, up to 10-35 ft. tall and wide (3-10 m) in the North, and up to 60 ft. tall (18 m) in the South.
- A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is best grown in consistently moist, slightly acidic, organically rich, well-drained soils. Unlike most other Magnolias, tolerates wet soils.
- Virtually pest and disease free.
- Spectacular as a specimen tree, for shrub borders or foundation plantings. Perfect near ponds and streams.
- Prune after blooming during the growing season because dormant magnolias do not easily heal.
- Propagate using stratified seed or semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer.
- Native to the southeastern United States north along the Atlantic coast to New York