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Common Name:

Sweetbay Magnolia

Scientific Name:

Magnolia virginiana

Family Name:



Magnolia virginiana is a highly variable species native to the Eastern USA. The species is very site responsive resulting in a range of plant sizes. The primary assets are the semi-evergreen foliage and sweet scented 2 inch to 3 inch diameter white flowers sporadically present from spring to frost. The plant's form is relatively open and airy compared to Magnolia grandiflora.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree, medium tree


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Creamy white

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Woody cone-like structures with red seeds


typically 20 ft to 30 ft in Central and East Texas, can reach 80 ft in southern swamps


15 ft to 25 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Medium Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Performs best when sited on moist well drained acidic soil. Can tolerate less perfect sites but growth will be substantially reduced and the foliage may become chlorotic on neutral soils. Best reserved for use in East Texas.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.