Why the Moonglow® Sweetbay Magnolia?
Plant it by the patio! You’ll want Moonglow Sweetbay nearby when you relax on your patio on those blissful late spring and early summer days. That’s when this exquisite ornamental tree unfurls its creamy-white blossoms, perfuming the air with their lemony fragrance. The blooms keep coming for weeks! In late summer, shiny red fruits appear that are relished by songbirds. Robins, cardinals, mockingbirds, orioles, and kingbirds may be seen flitting among the branches of your tree in search of a meal. Moonglow Magnolia is a fast-growing tree that doesn’t get huge. It’s perfect for smaller properties and for cozy spaces within large estates.
Sweetbay Magnolia is a beloved native tree found in the East Coast and Gulf states, from southern New Jersey to East Texas. This particular selection arose from a crop of seeds sown in the 1970s by the late, great nurseryman, Earl Cully, of Jacksonville, Illinois. The superior seedling stood out from the crowd by virtue of its distinctively upright habit. Over the years, Cully also observed that Moonglow was more cold-hardy than other selections (it survived -33ºF with no damage!) and that it held its leaves later in the year. In west-central Illinois, he noted, it holds its leaves until Christmas. In very mild climates, Moonglow is evergreen.
How to use in the landscape?
The dark green, silver-backed leaves of Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia are lovely to look at as they dance in the wind, but they are more than just a pretty ornament. Sweetbay Magnolia foliage nourishes our native tiger swallowtail and Spicebush swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, as well as those of the handsome Sweetbay silkmoth.
How To Plant
Plant your Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia in a sunny spot, or one with light shade. Water regularly. Although it will be tolerant of dry spells once it is well established, Moonglow will perform much better with constant moisture. Unlike other Magnolias, it will even withstand occasional flooding. Mulch with organic matter and use our Elements™ Watering System to keep the rootzone cool and moist. Like all Sweetbays, Moonglow will perform best in acidic (low pH) soils, so if Rhododendrons and Azaleas grow well in your area, this tree should be happy. In very alkaline soils, its leaves may become chlorotic (yellowish). Moonglow is otherwise easy to please!
How To Water
Water weekly, or better yet, use the Bower & Branch® Water Element to deliver just the right amount of moisture to your tree throughout the growing season.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
The best time to prune a Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia is in late Spring to early Summer - after flowering has occurred.
Hardiness Zone: 5-10