Sweetbay Magnolia virginiana is a nearly evergreen tree (40′ – 80’ X 15′) that occurs over much of the state in wet woods and along the margins of swamps, bays, pocosins, and savannas. Attractive landscaping features include: its leaves, light green above and silvery-white below; fragrant cup-and-saucer, creamy-white flowers, which bloom in summer; and attractive seed pods with shiny red fruits.
The species grows fine in full sun or shade and wet or well-drained soils. Unlike other magnolias, it even tolerates wet clay soils. It provides cover for wildlife and support for native caterpillars, pollinators, and birds. Plant Sweetbay as a stand-alone specimen or in naturalistic groupings. Its upright, columnar form lends itself to use in narrow, contained spaces.