Bay Laurel, perennial in zone 6

leira(6 MA)July 19, 2012

I recently learned from my elderly Italian neighbor that she leaves her bay laurel in the ground all year 'round. She says it dies down every Winter, but grows back in the Spring. She pointed it out to me, and lo and behold, there it was, tiny, but sending up loads of small branches that were covered in leaves.

I was quite surprised...but it seems to be working for her. She has hers planted in a fairly sheltered area, with my shed behind it, and a permanent cold frame on one side. Maybe that helps? I'm not sure.

Has anyone else heard of treating Bay Laurel this way?

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I am one zone higher than you and have no problem over wintering them on the west side of the house (which probably gives them an additional half zone at least advantage). They are about three feet tall now. Last year, there was no die back and they were evergreen but the winter before, there was some dieback, but in the spring I just cut back whatever was dead looking and they regrew. Growth is much more vigorous in the ground as long as you can get them to overwinter. I don't protect them really at all. I realize these are trees but my vision is to eventually espaliate them. They offer the additional advantage in that deer to not touch them because they are aromatic. By the way, I never used to get bay t really perform in a container. I suspect my mistake was like most peoples'. Unlike other herbs we grow, these want to be TREES, and my containers were not large enough. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 1:46PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Gotta love microclimates and heat sinks! I'm so jealous of a few rosemary bushes here in Denver, when I can't hardly get it to grow outside, or overwinter.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:12PM
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Rosemary is a pretty good, Zone 7 'indicator species'. It seems it goes from a sizable, almost aggressive shrub, to undoable within a short geographical range (with little in between).

Bay Laurel is about the same in hardiness. I am just thrilled these Mediterranean plants manage to survive in such a humid and rainy climate here!

Balloon, aside from overwintering issues, you have a problem w. growing rosemary?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:37PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Not really problems that would be unexpected--it's just that overwintering the hardy varieties is still tricky here at the bottom end of their range, except in the case of specific climate things like heat sinks. But with a short summer grow period, and the slow growing tendency of rosemary, it only gets so big, even when it's happy. I did get one (ARP) to overwinter, but it barely made it and didn't really do much this summer. Getting pretty good at potted rosemary--we'll see how the winter goes with that.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:58PM
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