Anyone grow Laurus nobilis..bay laurel?

pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)October 24, 2005

I'm hoping for all and any suggestions for trying to grow this plant outside. Is anyone successful with it? Thanks in advance.


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I have been growing bay laurel for about five years now. I started out with two of them about a foot tall. Lost one after a couple of years. The one that I still have is now about four feet high. I standardized it about three years ago after seeing a show on hgtv with the loveliest 85 year old woman who had a large one standardized in a pot in a gorgeous rustic garden in Vermont. They winter over nicely inside. I am not really sure why I lost one of them but I was not very careful with them. I never really fertilize or do anything special either than bringing them inside in the fall and putting them back outside in the spring. I am hoping the one I have follows me into old age like the lovely lady I saw in Vermont. The fresh leaves are wonderful in soups, etc.

Actually this post is so coincidental since I was just goggling whether to bring it in tonight or not. It should be fine outside tonight but I am definately going to bring it inside tomorrow night till spring. The information I read said they are hardy in zone 8. Here in Carthage I am borderline zone 8. I am not going to take a chance with it though since my bay is really getting that "small tree" look. Adele

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 11:19PM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

I'm glad to hear that you bay tree is doing well. Any particular potting mix? Will a western window give it enough light do you think?

What a lovely idea of standardizing it. Mine is also about a foot tall...just got it this fall. I'm hoping to be as successful as you. :)


    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 11:33PM
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In Pittsburgh I had them both in a western window for the winter. Here in Carthage the one left was wintered over in a south facing situation.

I do let the soil dry out between waterings. They don't seem to have any kind of bug problems and seemed to be quite happy with the western facing window.

I am curious to see how you do with them. The one I standardized developed a second strong stem at the bottom of the planting that I twined around the original stem to get a really strong trunk and then just keep breaking off all growth other than the top couple of inches. Now the trunk is about three feet tall. All the branching out occurs on the top fourth foot and that growth is about a foot wide. It still trys to branch out up and down the trunk but I just kind of knock them off when they are just coming out and still tender. Adele

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 12:02AM
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Sorry I didn't answer your soil question. I used a bagged soil mix. Something light. It was probably a Miracle Grow mix since that is what I normally buy. Adele

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 12:06AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

Thank you! I appreciate your help.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 12:18AM
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squirrelspur(6B/7A NC)

I'm in zone 7A and grow this outside. The first year it is more tender then it handles the cold better in following years. Mulch with some straw in the winter - the first winter it died down to the roots but came back. Nothing special about the soil it is growing in, ordinary garden soil.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 5:42AM
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The JC Raulston Arboretum has several planted, at least one since 1996.

Here is a link that may be useful: JC Raulston Arboretum. If you go to this site, hit Horticulture, then Current Plantings.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 7:51AM
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redhead(Upstate SC - 7b)

My bay laurel lives in a pot on the back deck (south facing) for the last 4 or 5 years. The deck is shaded in summer from the afternoon heat by a tree. For winter I pull the pot up against the brick house and under the roof overhang for some protection. I used Miracle Grow potting soil with some gravel in the bottom for some additional drainage. I also use a little pine bark mulch on top of the soil. The bush is about 4 feet tall now and grown to a 20 inch pot. I fertilize in spring with 10-10-10 when the leaves turn a little yellow and use liquid fertilizer a couple of times during the summer.

We use the leaves most often in the fall/winter for soups, chili and stews or putting in the cavity of chicken or turkey before roasting.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 7:52AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

Thanks for everyone's good suggestions. :)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 9:34PM
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sandyhill(z-8a NC USA)

Not here, but I have elsewhere. I love our native Redbay (Persea borbonia)& grow lots of that now since it is native and can take our climate better.

Laurus nobilis is a zone 8 plant, so you may need some shelter. Moist somewhat acid soil in part to almost-full sun is best.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 2:58PM
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I do not understand the term standardizing, I read the definition in the glosary but i am still blank
can you please explain what it is how to do it and the benefits?
I would appreciate it
Thank you

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 12:54PM
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pricem11(z7 NC)

I'm growing a start of L. nobilis 'angustifolia' here in 7a. It has narrower leaves than the regular bay laurel and is supposed to be significanly more cold hardy. It's still in a pot until I find a suitable spot. I also will try to take cuttings to overwinter in case the start doesn't overwinter.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 2:53PM
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surface_noise(z8a NC)

It should be fine outside. Greenville's realistically a zone 8 (I lived there for years) - plants don't read maps, anyway.

I had a "standard" in a large pot outside my garage for 5-6 years and it was never injured by cold.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 6:41PM
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dellare(7NC) standardizing I meant that I trained the laurel to basically look like a tree. This is GW's definition of standard:

standard (syn. banner)
1. A plant with a strong vertical stem, particularly one that would not normally grow that way; a vine or shrub trained as a tree with a single trunk and a more or less spherical top. 2. Uppermost, usually erect, petals of some flowers; the upper dilated petal of a papilionaceous corolla.

They do it regularly with roses although they use grafting to create the tree affect. I have also seen it done with hydranga, wisteria and a plant that has yellow daisy-like flowers (can't remember the name of it right now).

I have also in the past standardized a japanese willow that had a more bush-like structure.

It is very easy to do with a laurel since they usually sell them with one strong central stem. Adele

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 8:45PM
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I found this site about growing laurels. Enjoy LindaNC

Here is a link that might be useful: growing laurel

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 6:40PM
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