* Common name: Sweetbay magnolia
* Botanical name: Magnolia virginiana
* What it is: A small and slow-growing native tree that has dark-green glossy leaves and large, showy white flowers from May into early summer. Stays evergreen most winters.
* Size: 15 to 20 feet tall, slightly less in diameter.
* Where to use: Does best in partly shaded spots but durable enough to withstand full sun. Likes damp soil and tolerates fairly wet soil, so it’s a good choice along streams or in rain gardens and low-lying areas. Also works well as a patio tree.
* Care: Keep consistently damp, especially in the early years and in sunnier spots. Prefers acidy soil, so consider adding sulfur at planting, then a scattering of Holly-tone each spring. Prune out any crossing or excess branches immediately after bloom and make shaping or size-control cuts at the same time if you prefer a single-stem form. Otherwise, tree likely will grow two or more trunks. Lower limbs can be removed as desired as the trees grow.
* Great partner: Golden variegated Japanese forestgrass or coralbells ‘Electra.’