The palest butter yellow blooms of sweet bay magnolia offer a delicious lemony fragrance when they bloom in late spring or early summer. Sweetbay may be single or multi-trunked and develops an oval or pyramidal crown when mature. It is native to the eastern and southeastern United States from Massachusetts to Texas and favors open, moist wooded areas and swamplands.
The handsome elliptical green leaves are silvery underneath. Although mainly a deciduous tree, it may remain semi-evergreen in warm, mild winter landscapes. Creamy white, chalice-shaped flowers with a sweet, lemony smell bloom from late spring into summer. Each blossom lasts for two to three days and stays open just during the day. The petals fade to yellow as they age. The small aggregate fruits are conical and lined with follicles that split open to show orange-red seeds that are eaten by birds.
Grow sweetbay in moist, acidic soils. Full sun exposure will encourage fuller, denser growth and an even habit, but this magnolia also withstands partial shade. It is a resilient tree ideal for home landscapes as well as moist, lowland sites. Southern forms that used to be identified by the now defunct variety name, australis, are less tolerant of cold and remain fully evergreen in winter. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Magnolia
Species - Virginiana
Common name - Sweetbay
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 6 - 9
Height - 15'-60' / 3 - 9 m
Spread - 10'-25' / 3 - 7.60 m
Plant type - Tree
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Sand
Water requirements - Wet Site
Landscape uses - Feature Plant, Foundation, Shade Trees
Germination rate - 50%
Bloom season - Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer
Leaf / Flower color - Green, Light Green, Blue Green, Silver / White
|Germination||1. Soak the seeds in water to soften the coating. Change the water every day for 3 or 4. Use your fingers or rub between paper towels to wash the coating off. |
2. Stratify the seeds in the refrigerator for 30-40 days in a damp medium (steriule sand, peat moss or damp paper towels) in a plastic tub or bag and then bring them out into room temp. 70 degrees F (20-22 C). Or plant them outside.
3. Once sprouted the young seedlings/trees need protection for the first couple of years from weather extremes and critters. If you're planting outside, wait until after winter.