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Sweetbay Magnolia

Magnolia virginiana

Hardiness Zones: 5 - 9   View Map
  • Produces creamy white flowers 2–3" in diameter that carry a light lemon scent
  • Blooms May through June, avoiding damaging spring frost
  • Flowers best in full sun
  • Typically grows as a multi-stemmed specimen but can be found with a single trunk
  • Features simple leaves 3–5" in length that are dark green and often lustrous on top with a silvery, frosted-looking underside
  • Grows in a columnar or vase shape
  • Yields clusters of red fruit that attracts wildlife
  • Works well as a specimen or patio tree

Tree Details



Growth Speed

Medium to Fast

Scientific Name

Magnolia virginiana

Mature Height

10' - 20'

Mature Spread

10' - 20'

Shipping Height



While it may not produce as many blooms as other magnolias, the sweetbay magnolia should not be counted out of your landscape plans. This tree flowers late in the spring, avoiding much of the frost that can spoil a blooming tree’s beauty. It also attracts a wide variety of songbirds with its fall fruit.

This elegantly shaped flowering tree is a great choice for a specimen or patio tree.

Sun Preference

Full Sun, Partial Sun/Shade

Soil Preference

Acidic, Loamy, Moist, Rich, Sandy, Silty Loam, Well Drained, Wet

Wildlife Value

The fruit is eaten by gray squirrels, white-footed mice, turkey and quail as well as a variety of songbirds including vireos, towhees, Northern flicker and blue jays.

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