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Sweetbay Magnolia Growth Rate [Fast Or Slow Growing?]

The Sweetbay Magnolia has a varying growth rate that differs with climate and soil.

Generally, Sweetbay Magnolia has a growth rate of 1 to 2 feet yearly, adding up to its height of 15 to 20 feet, which can go up to 60 feet in the farthest southern zone, and spread of 10 to 20 feet.

However, it can be a shrub in Virginia but an evergreen tree in Florida.

So go through the article to learn about the Sweetbay Magnolia and the conditions that affect its growth.

Where Is The Best Place To Plant A Sweetbay Magnolia?

Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), a native of the Southeastern United States Coastal areas, can be deciduous or evergreen, depending on where it grows.

You can mostly notice the deciduous Sweetbay Magnolia tree in the northern part of the hardiness zone. Meanwhile, it is semi-evergreen in the south.

However, the best place to plant a Sweetbay Magnolia in both conditions is in acidic, medium to wet organic soil that receives full sun to partial shade.
The white bloom of Sweetbay Magnolia
The flower fades to give reddish yellow fruit that gives rise to red seed spread by birds.

You will enjoy the creamy lemon-scented bloom flush in late spring and early summer if you provide the tree with at least 6 to 8 hours of bright sunlight.

However, the sun of the south might be too scorching for Magnolias. So provide them with partial shade to avoid the afternoon heat.

Moreover, the Sweetbay Magnolia enjoys boggy conditions. You can even plant them nearby ponds, swamps, or streams. For this, they are also known as Swamp Magnolia.

Growth Rate Of Sweetbay Magnolia Tree

The lifespan of a Sweetbay Magnolia tree is about 130 years, where even if the over-the-ground part gets burned, the root stays healthy.

So under optimum growing conditions, Sweetbay Magnolia will get 15 to 20 feet tall or even 60  feet big in the far southern zone and 10 to 20 feet wide.

The height attainment is possible because of the moderate to fast growth rate of Sweetbay Magnolia trees. Each year Sweetbay Magnolia grows 1 to 2 feet tall.

However, climatic and soil conditions affect the growth rate of Sweetbay Magnolia as they can be both small shrubs and large trees.

The Sweetbay Magnolia growing in the USDA zone 4 to 6 has deciduous shrub growth that hardly attains a height of 8 feet. In winter, the Sweetbay Magnolias lose their leaves.

Meanwhile, the trees growing in USDA zone 8 and 9 grow much taller and have sturdier trunks up to 20 to 35 feet big.

So the growth rate and plant size might change according to the growing conditions.

What Conditions Do Sweetbay Magnolias Like?

Sweetbay Magnolias prefer warmer and wet conditions more than drought and cold climates.

Under the optimum condition, they give out dark green glossy leaves 3 to 4 inches long. So try to maintain the required condition as follow. 

  • For the best result, plant Sweetbay Magnolias in damp clayey soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • The Sweetbay Magnolia likes temperatures ranging between 40 to 95ºF.
  • Provide the tree with regular watering, mainly during the early stage. Meanwhile, decrease it to once every two weeks in the summer but do it thoroughly.
  • The tree prefers light feed depending upon the time of the year.
  • So, give the plant nitrogen-rich fertilizers like blood meal during spring and potassium-rich fertilizers like potash during early fall.
The green foliage growth of Sweetbay Magnolia with its white bloom
Occasional pruning of the branches can control its growth.
  • Moreover, little pruning with sterilized pruners after the blooming period boosts healthy growth and encourages bloom for the following year.

From Editorial Team

Garden Uses!

The adaptability of Sweetbay Magnolia to swampy conditions makes it a perfect border and landscape plant for rain gardens.

You can also use it as an excellent specimen for lawn and patio as the deciduous shrubby foliage provides filtered light and acts as a privacy screen.

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