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Sweetbay Magnolia

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

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Characteristics

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

Ornamental Features

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

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

Sweetbay Magnolia will grow to be about 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 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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