Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Loblolly Bay
Gordonia lasianthus

Family: Theaceae (tee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Gordonia (gor-DOH-nee-uh) (Info)
Species: lasianthus (lay-zee-ANTH-us) (Info)

Synonym:Gordonia pyramidalis
Synonym:Hypericum lasianthus

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive longjonsilverz On Sep 30, 2013, longjonsilverz from Centreville, MD wrote:

Loblolly bay is a great plant. I have been growing a few of these for a few years here in Maryland. (zone 7). They tolerate the colder winters here very well and usually remain mostly evergreen, with the exception of a few leaves dropping in the fall. The flowers are similar to most common camellia cultivars and periodically appear from around June through fall in this area. The only negatives about this plant would be the slow growth rate and the very picky conditions in which it need to grow. They will struggle in drought as well as with too much water, which can be a difficult issue when planting in clay soils. They can be somewhat compared to the difficulty of growing rhododendrons except without the need for shade. Its a shallow root system that creates the difficulty. However, once established, they are fairly easy to maintain and definitely worth the effort since the appearance is very attractive.

Positive SageOne On Sep 25, 2008, SageOne from Birmingham, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

Well I hope adding this comment doesn't jinx me or my Gordonia, but yes, that's right: I have a mature one here in Birmingham. I planted it about 1995 when it was about 5 ft tall and it's slowly grown to maybe 12 ft. It's one of my favorites; I view it as a survivor in a hostile USDA zone 7b world. :)

I believe that it has done well because of its microclimate: I planted it as a "foundation" tree, next to my house. It has a southerly exposure and is protected from drying winter winds. Believe it or not, I'd call it drought-tolerant: I rarely give it supplemental water. EVEN during our drought of 2007 I watered it by hand (heavily) no more than twice, and once or maybe twice I gave it a good session with a soaker hose. Most "normal" summers I MIGHT hand water it once during the worst run w/o rain.

It always has a heavy flower bud crop all summer long; all it needs is a decent rain, and all the buds open as if on command. This cycle repeats as the rains come and go. I'd love to see how it would look if we ever have a "rainy" summer here.

The experiment continues, as I've just planted another 5 footer, but this time in a more exposed part of my yard. I am hopeful, but we shall, as they say, see...

Positive djam On Aug 14, 2008, djam from Jupiter, FL wrote:

Picked up one on the side of the road around Orlando about 15 years ago. Didnt think it would survive the bare root trip home to Palm Beach county, but it did . It is now a 20 foot mature tree and it blossoms all summer. Lightly fragerant flowers are there every morning and drop off every afternoon. Since its getting old I decided to try and airlayer a cutting from it. I was sucessful. A great tree.!

Positive MotherNature4 On Jul 5, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

The lovely white flowers blooming along the roadsides are a joy. They do well in the home landscape as well. The grooved bark of mature trees adds interest. At almost any month of the year, it is possible to find at least one red leaf. This is a characteristic which will help you to identify this tree. Unlike the other two "bay" trees commonly found in Florida, this one does not have aromatic leaves. MN4

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Apr 1, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

The Loblolly Bay is the official city flower for Jacksonville, Florida -- a nice choice I think. It grows fairly abundantly in wooded areas in NE Florida and can be frequently seen along I-10 between Jacksonville and Tallahasee when it is in bloom.

Neutral hawkarica On Mar 31, 2005, hawkarica from Odessa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

While this plant may like moist soil, it will not take standing water. It also has a reputation as being difficult to transplant and generally hard to grow. Apart from that, it is a great native tree.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Bartow, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Jupiter, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Odessa, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Kingsland, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Coushatta, Louisiana
Centreville, Maryland
Chapin, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina

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