Magnolia virginiana, commonly called sweet bay magnolia, is native to the southeastern United States north along the Atlantic coast to New York. In the northern part of its cultivated growing range, it typically grows as either a 15-20' tall tree with a spreading, rounded crown or as a shorter, suckering, open, multi-stemmed shrub. In the far southern United States, it is apt to be more tree-like, sometimes growing to 60' tall. Features cup-shaped, sweetly fragrant (lemony), 9-12 petaled, creamy white, waxy flowers (2-3" diameter) which appear in mid-spring and sometimes continue sporadically throughout the summer. Oblong-lanceolate shiny green foliage is silvery beneath. Foliage is evergreen to semi-evergreen in warmer climates and semi-evergreen to fully deciduous in colder climates. Cone-like fruits with bright red seeds mature in fall and can be showy.
Excellent specimen tree for lawns or tall multi-stemmed shrub for shrub borders. Use in foundation plantings, near patios or on the periphery of woodland areas. Often planted in parks. Will grow in wet soils such as those found in low spots or near ponds/streams. Easily grown in acidic, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, rich, organic soils, but, unlike most other magnolias, tolerates wet, boggy soils. Hardy n zones 5-10.
Seeds are stored in a refrigerator to maintain viability.