The Amelia Bulletin Monitor


Flower of the month



Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) is a mid-sized evergreen/ semi-evergreen native plant. It can be found throughout much of the eastern United States and is hardy in zones 5-10.

In the Northern part of its growing zone, the Sweetbay tends to be more shrubby. In the South, it is a nice-sized tree and often has multitrunks.

Several members of the Amelia County Garden Club know and love this Southern classic, as it is a suitable choice for many settings.

When they are happy, Sweetbays grow moderately fast—12-inches or more annually. They can reach a height and width of 30- to 35-feet. With some judicious pruning, they can be kept smaller.

The leaves are long and glossy green; about 5- to 7-inches in length. They usually remain evergreen in Amelia, especially if the winter is fairly mild. In colder areas, a Sweetbay can be deciduous.

The bark is a lovely silvery tone and usually smooth in texture.

They flower in the summer with creamy white blooms. They have a wonderful lemony scented scent that beckon garden visitors to come nearer. Pollinators love the flowers as much as gardeners. They often form seedpods and red seeds later in the year, adding multi-season interest to a border.



They can be grown in extra large pots on patios to give year round structure to outdoor living spaces. In this situation, a Sweetbay can be a showstopper!

It grows well in full sun to partial shade locations with a rich, humus-y soil. It loves a damp site. In nature, they can be found most often in swampy ground.

In drought-ridden areas, they are likely to do better in partial shade locations if the gardener is not a slave to supplemental irrigation. It cannot sustain itself in blazing sun in hot, dry locations without sufficient moisture.

They flower most heavily in sunny conditions with plenty of water, but are also reliable bloomers in shadier locales.

Anyone seeking more information about the Sweetbay or ACGC should contact Membership Chair Jeanie O’Malley at





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