Alphabetical Plant Listing

Gordonia lasianthus (Loblolly Bay)

Gordonia, Loblolly Bay, Sweet Bay


Prized for its fragrant flowers, Gordonia lasianthus (Loblolly Bay) is an evergreen shrub or tree of columnar or pyramidal habit bearing leathery, glossy dark green leaves, 2-7 in. long (5-17 cm), with pale gray undersides. The foliage of oblong leaves glimmers in the wind as a result of their silvery undersides. From spring to frost, a profusion of large, fragrant, white flowers, 2-3 in. wide (5-7 cm), are produced throughout the canopy. Resembling camellia flowers, their five waxy petals surround a prominent bouquet of golden stamens. They remain open for 1 or 2 days and are pollinated by bees, flies, and hummingbirds. They are followed by hard, woody, five-valved capsules with each valve containing 4-8 flat, winged seeds. The rough bark of mature trees is thin, interlaced with flat-topped ridges and separated by narrow furrows. Native to the southeastern United States, Loblolly Bay occurs naturally in acid, swampy soils of pinelands and bays on the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. It is considered a handsome and hardy tree and valued as an ornamental. Slow-growing, Loblolly Bay is well-suited for planting in boggy and other poorly drained soils. Use Loblolly Bay as a screening or specimen flowering tree.

  • Grows up to 30-60 ft. tall (9-18 m) and 10-15 ft. wide (3-5 m). Adds 12-24 in. per year (30-60 cm). Its ultimate size depends on soil moisture.
  • Performs best in part shade in acidic, moist to wet soils. Loblolly Bay can tolerate full sun only with sufficient moisture. Tolerates extended flooding. The plant has a shallow root system and will die if not watered during periods of drought.
  • Great as a specimen plant or in groupings. Perfect near ponds and streams.
  • Keep an eye out for borers, borers, aphids, and caterpillars.
  • Needs little pruning to develop a strong structure.
  • Propagate by seed or cuttings. Sow seeds outdoors in sandy soil (no treatment). Some will germinate the following year
  • Native to the southeastern United States.

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Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 9
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 30' – 60' (9m – 18m)
Spread 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina
Tolerance Wet Soil
Attracts Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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Rexness, Jim Duggan, Denisbin, Flickr

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 7 – 9
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 30' – 60' (9m – 18m)
Spread 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina
Tolerance Wet Soil
Attracts Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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