Magnolia - Sweetbay

Magnolia virginiana
USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-10


Sweetbay magnolia is a graceful southern, evergreen to semi-evergreen, wide columnar tree, ideal for use as a patio tree or specimen. The flowers tend to be slightly smaller, but are absolutely beautiful with a profound lemony fragrance. The foliage of a sweetbay magnolia is less glossy in color when compared to other magnolias, but the underside is a silvery-gray in color making it appear to shimmer in the breeze. These trees are very adaptable but prefer full sun or part-shade and medium to wet soil. This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, reaching a maturity height of 40 to 50 feet and a 15-25 foot spread. It is suitable for USDA Zones 5-10 but note the species is deciduous in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 7 (and evergreen further south).

USDA ZONES: Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10


At Plant Me Green we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care. We ship your plants using FedEx Ground® the following business day after you have completed checkout.

We are now offering $15 flat rate shipping for all tree orders! Replacement tree shipping cost will be $15 per box. We still cannot ship to some states and US territories based off the Agricultural Laws that may be in place. Please see below for all exclusions. 

If you have any questions concerning transit time for your order, please feel free to contact us at or toll free 855-817-5268.

Trees: Due to strict Agricultural Laws in place, we currently cannot ship to the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii. We cannot ship to Puerto Rico or international.

Houseplants: Can ship to California and Arizona. 
How to Plant
STEP 1) First, decide on a planting location. Consider carefully what kind of sun, soil, and growing-space your tree or shrub will need.
STEP 2) Once you've located the perfect spot, the hole you are digging must be at least double the width and as deep as the root system you are planting.
STEP 3) Remove the plant from the pot and place the root ball in the hole. The top of the root system should be level with the ground. Before placing the tree or shrub in the hole, use your hands to gently break up the root system.
STEP 4) Once the plant is in place, backfill the hole with native soil and any leftover potting material.
STEP 5) Pack down the soil to eliminate any air pockets.
STEP 6) When finished, water thoroughly.
Care Guide

Sweetbay magnolias do best in full sun or part shade with medium to very moist soil. The sweetbay magnolia grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well-drained and wet soils. It will tolerate periodic flooding. The tree benefits from a balanced, general purpose fertilizer for the first three years. Use one cup of fertilizer the first and second year, and two cups the third year. It doesn’t usually need fertilizer after the third year.

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
C Sanders
Still Thriving a year and a half later (don't stake it part way during a wind storm!)

An update to my last review almost exactly a year ago. The Sweetbay is still thriving a year and a half later! Well, other than some black spots on the leaves (which hopefully as I finish landscaping that area and keep the grass away from it, it will be more healthy and able to fight off any mildew or pests)....I spray with a murphy soap/black tea/hydrogen peroxide diluted with water mix. It saves many of my plants from all kinds of problems around here. Anyway, so far this is a miracle plant for this boggy half the year area and low/no water for 3 month area. (I water it in summer, eventually these are supposed to be semi drought tolerant when mature). With the terrible winds this year, trees falling everywhere around, this poor baby broke off right in half at the top of the stake. I wish I would have staked higher or removed the stake all together! Anyway, it already has a new leader shoot this spring and is bouncing back. This is supposed to be a wind tolerant tree. So, my bad on leaving a stake half-way up the tree. Ugh. Also, it grew tremendously over the last summer before breaking in half. I mean probably 4 feet + in just the summer months! (it really only grows in late spring/summer here). I ordered another tree like this, dormant, from a different supplier (while ordering other trees) and had no luck, even with a replacement. So, I have ordered another from here...plant me green. I love that they are not dormant, because it won't go dormant where I am anyway! I'm very excited to eventually hide neighboring two-story houses with these trees and have greenery all year!

Brenda Wood
Magnolia Sweetbay

My tree has arrived it looks beautiful. hope it continues to thrive. Thank you

C Sanders

I've had my baby sweetbay magnolia for 6 mo now in the Pacific NW. It's April now and it's been in standing water for weeks at a time and boggy soil for months overall. It also handled a 0 degree wind-chill during winter and still has its leaves! (It's only lost a few leaves overall). It is looking a lighter color of green than I would expect. I think it's just as desperate for the sunshine as I am! It's supposed to get nice next week! We will see how it does over the hot summer.. hopefully it grows quickly during that time as I would expect, and has beautiful flowers. I'm buying another one now! Very excited for these trees able to fill in this difficult area of the yard and bring that beautiful greenery year round. It's really an amazing find!

Carl Bergquist

Magnolia tree arrived in excellent condition. Was very pleased.

Janet H
Sweetbay magnolias

Trees came in pors which I like. They are very healthy looking. We planted them yesterday. Hope they continue to grow and thrive