Mt Cuba Center
Morning sunrise illuminates the round garden at Mt. Cuba Center.
Explore the Gardens Virtual Tour Virtual Tour

Thanks for a great year! Mt. Cuba Center is closed for general admission for the season and will reopen on April 3, 2024.

An ecological gardening certificate student completes a Native Plants of Fall exam in Mt. Cuba Center's naturalistic gardens.
Ecological Gardening Certificate Learn More Learn More
Program Guide

Classes offered year-round. Learn to garden in harmony with nature, take an art or wellness class, and more!

Carex barrattii
Latest Trial: Carex for the Mid-Atlantic Region Learn More Learn More
Trial Garden

Mt. Cuba Center evaluates native plants and related cultivars for horticultural and ecological value.

Mt. Cuba Center's natural lands pictured at sunset.
Protecting Natural Lands Learn More Learn More
Ecological Land Management

Mt. Cuba conserves and stewards more than 1,000 acres including meadows, forests, streams and riparian corridors.

Two guests walk down the West Slope path in spring at Mt. Cuba Center.
Gift a Membership Gift Guide Gift Guide

Enjoy unlimited general admission, member discounts, guest passes, and more!

Mt Cuba Center
Back to list

Magnolia virginiana

Native Plants

Sweet Bay

4 Photos


Grace your patio path with the pleasing lemon-scented fragrant blossoms of this multi- stemmed, small tree. Blooming sporadically, the solitary 2-3”, creamy white flowers are followed by small red fruits which are highly valued by a variety of wildlife. The shiny leaves are semi-evergreen, cast with silver on the underside. Sweet bay’s loose, open, upright habit provides a lovely vertical element in the garden. Naturally growing in moist to wet acid soils, it will thrive in medium to heavy clay. Sweet bay prefers filtered shade to sun. It makes a handsome companion for Matteuccia struthiopteris, Chelone lyonii, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum, Ilex glabra, and Clethra alnifolia.

More Details

  • Plant Type
  • Sun/Shade Conditions
    filtered-shade, full-sun 
  • Foliage Character
  • Soil Moisture
    average, moist, wet 
  • Flowering Period
    early-summer, late-spring
  • Soil PH
    acidic, adaptable 
  • Flower Color
  • Summer Foliage Color
  • Fall Foliage Color
  • Fruit/Seed Color