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Southern Sweetbay Magnolia

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A small tree with sparse, extremely fragrant cup-shaped flowers in spring and sporadically throughout summer, large leaves with silver undersides are semi-evergreen; very adaptable, makes a wonderful front yard accent in the average home landscape

Characteristics

Species:
virginiana var. australis
Other Species Names:
Swamp Magnolia, Laurel Magnolia
Average Landscape Height:
15 feet
Average Landscape Width:
8 feet
Genus:
Magnolia
Branching:
multi-stemmed
Plant Form:
round
Canopy:
low
Growth Rate:
medium
Pruning:
prune after flowering
Flower Color:
cream
Flower Form:
cup
Flower Fragrance:
high
Flower Period:
from mid to late spring
Summer Foliage Color:
dark green
Fall Color:
yellow
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Light:
shade
Maximum Moisture:
wet
Minimum Moisture:
moist

Ornamental Features

Southern Sweetbay Magnolia features bold fragrant creamy white cup-shaped flowers held atop the branches from mid to late spring. It has dark green deciduous foliage. The pointy leaves turn yellow in fall. The fruits are showy red pods displayed in early fall.

Landscape Attributes

Southern Sweetbay Magnolia is a multi-stemmed deciduous tree with a more or less rounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

Planting & Growing

Southern Sweetbay Magnolia will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 8 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This tree performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the foliage in alkaline soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

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