Magnolia virginiana Jim Wilson – Moonglow® Magnolia

Botanical Name: Magnolia virginiana Jim Wilson

Alternate Name: Moonglow® Sweetbay Magnolia, Jim Wilson Moonglow® Magnolia

The Moonglow Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana ‘Jim Wilson’) is a beautiful, small, upright growing deciduous or semi-deciduous tree. It is prized for its fragrant, cream-colored flowers that cover the canopy in spring. Moonglow is a cultivar of Magnolia virginiana, otherwise known as the Sweetbay Magnolia. It is native to the southeastern United States, found growing along the Atlantic coast.

This Magnolia cultivar differs from the species in that it is hardier and has semi-deciduous foliage in warmer climates. It also grows more vigorously and its blooms are slightly larger. This tree grows to a height of 15-25 feet and a spread of 10-20 feet.

The small size of the Moonglow Magnolia makes it a useful accent tree in small gardens or for use as a screen. It is also a perfect tree to plant near ponds, lakes, rivers, and in rain gardens as it is tolerant of more wet conditions than other Magnolias.

The blooms of the Moonglow Magnolia appear in mid spring. Its name – Moonglow – refers to the creamy white flowers. They are in the shape of a cup, 2-3 inches wide, with 9-12 waxy petals and a fresh but sweet, citrus fragrance. The blooms can last for up to a month, and sometimes the tree will rebloom later in the growing season.

The leaves are shiny, dark green and elliptical to lanceolate in shape. The undersides of the leaves are a lighter green. The fruits are borne in cone-like structures, with bright red showy seeds that provide seasonal interest.

Not susceptible to any significant diseases or pests.


Height: 15-35 ft.
Width: 10-20 ft.
Shape: Oval, Vase-shaped
Flower Color: Creamy White
Flowering Time: May-June
Fall Color: Yellow
Features: Showy fragrant flowers, glossy leaves give a tropical feel
Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Watering: Moderate/Heavy & Regular
Soil: Prefers acidic, rich, moist to wet soils, but will tolerate wetter soils unlike other Magnolia species. Tolerates clay.
Growth Rate: Moderate
USDA Zones: 5-10
Uses: Accent tree, small shade tree, lining walkways, driveways, rain gardens, screening tree
Similar Trees: Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Columnar Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera ‘Fastigiata’), Elizabeth Magnolia (Magnolia x ‘Elizabeth’), Galaxy Magnolia (Magnolia x ‘Galaxy’), Daybreak Magnolia (Magnolia ‘Daybreak’), Yellow Bird Magnolia (Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Yellow Bird’)

Additional information


Oval, Vase, Low Branching

Flower Color

Creamy White

Flowering Time

June, May

Fall Color


Growth Rate



Accent Tree, Driveway, Lining Walkways, Rain Gardens, Screening, Shade Tree, Small Gardens

USDA Zones

10, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Mature Height

15'-20', 20'-30'

Mature Width

10'-15', 15'-20'


Full Sun, Partial Shade

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