Magnolia virginiana ‘Jim Wilson’ MOONGLOW ™
sweet bay magnolia
© J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.
This small evergreen magnolia shines in the winter with bright green and silver foliage. The leaves hold a bright green color that is cheerful in our gray weather with brilliant silver undersides that sparkle and flash on a breezy day. If the foliage is crushed it releases a pungent bay leaf aroma. In early summer fat buds open revealing a delicate cup of ivory white petals that open a few at a time through the summer lightly perfuming the air with the fragrance of lemon. The small stature makes it an excellent choice for the urban landscape. Easily grown as either a single truck or multiple trunk specimen it adds a natural grace in the garden. The compact scale of the tree make it a good choice for around patios and it combines well with rhododendrons, azaleas and compact shrubs.
Plant Type: tree
Foliage Type: evergreen
Plant Height: 18 ft. 0 in. (5.49 meters)
Plant Width/Spread: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 meters)
Plant Height-Mature: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)
Plant Width-Mature: 18 ft. 0 in. (5.49 meters)
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 9
Flower Color: white
Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade
Water Requirements: regular watering for best flowering
Wildlife Associations: birds
Colors & Combos
Great Color Contrasts: gold, silver, white, variegated
Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue
- Culture Notes
- This magnolia is easy to grow. It flowers best when planted in full sun to light or open shade. It will thrive in a rich moist, well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand and clay if the drainage is adequate. Plant in an area that is protected from strong winds to help the flowers last their longest and keep the young foliage from being damaged. Regular summer water will allow the best flowering and healthiest growth, but well established plants can tolerate occasional watering during dry weather. Magnolias have fleshy roots that can easily be damaged so limit extensive gardening under established trees. Little pruning is required other than removing dead and broken limbs or poorly formed limbs. Pruning is best done after flowering.
- Geek Notes
- Although it has been stated that Magnolia virginiana tolerates wet soil conditions, Dorothy Callaway, author of the monograph, The World of Magnolias, writes, "While its natural habitat is somewhat swampy, plants in cultivation cannot tolerate saturated soil. Treseder (1978) suggests a sandy loam mixed with peat, but the Sweet Bay tolerates a wide range of soil. It appears that any moist, well-drained medium is sufficient." ---Dorothy J. Calloway, The World of Magnolias, 1994 (Timber Press), 76.