Sweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana) 30 Seeds

  • $ 8.95

Zones 4/5-8

Moist areas

All except alkaline soils

Sun or part Sun

Say you want or need to trap a beaver. First you need a trap, but then you need to bait the trap. And then the question becomes, what do you bait a beaver trap with? There is an answer: Magnolia virginiana.

Beavers find the fleshy roots of the “Sweet bay” irresistible, a preference that was not missed by early colonists to North America.  Deer and cattle like the leaves and twigs. It can be up to 25% of their winter diet. Squirrels, white-footed mice, turkeys, quails and songbirds like its fruit. Humans make a tea from its leaves and use them to flavor soups and stews.

Sweetbay appeals to the nose with a hint of vanilla. Used in soups, stews, in making tea.  A pickled Magnolia Blossom condiment is highly prized.-click for recipe

Medicinal possibilities (always do your own research) include cold remedies, body temperature regulation, and a mild hallucinogen. Not sure that last one is medical but there you go.  


How to grow: 

  • Soak the seeds in water for 24-48 hours
  • Place in a Ziploc bag with a moist paper towel in the refrigerator for 6 weeks
  • Plant approx 10 seeds per 4" pot and bury up to the lip of the pot in a garden bed (when weather allows)
  • When seedlings are large enough to prick out of the soil, plant in individual pots and return to the garden row. 
  • Grow out in a protected location for the first year and plant in final location in the spring of their second year.