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Native Plant of the Week: Sweetbay

Family: Magnoliaceae

Name: Magnolia virginiana - Sweetbay

Bloom Time: May - June

Flower: White

Soil Condition: Moist, Wet, Acidic

Light: Sun - Partial Sun

Height: 12-35' tall by 10-35' wide (usually tops out around 20' on LI)

Native Range: Eastern United States including Long Island

Zone: 5 - 10

Photo: flower (KMS Native Plants)

Sweetbay Magnolia has lovely, fragrant, 3-4" wide, white flowers from May through June. It will send out sporadic flowers throughout the growing season too. The flowers are followed by dark red edible fruits that the birds adore (we can eat them too). The dried seed pods are great to use in holiday crafts. Makes a fantastic specimen tree in the garden. It may be sheared to keep it as a shrub form with multiple stems.

Maintenance: May be sheared to keep it shorter as a shrub form. Pruning should be done right after flowering, as dormant Magnolias do not heal well.

Benefits: Nectar source, host plant to Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Spicebush Swallowtail,

Fun Facts: Dark red fruits are edible. Magnolia is one of the oldest plants on earth and is pollinated mainly by beetles, moths, and bumble bees.

Companion Plants: Matteuccia struthiopteris - Ostrich Fern, Ilex glabra - Inkberry, Clethra alnifolia - Sweet Pepperbush, Rhododendron viscosum - Swamp Azalea, Carex amphibola - Creek Sedge, Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower



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