Bay laurel wilting fast

cjohansenNovember 5, 2013

I have a young Bay laurel inside. It's been very green and with upright leaves and generally good looking. Over the course of just a few days, leaves started to curl up and hang down, looking almost grey. What's the matter with it? I've been watering on pretty much the same schedule all along, roughly once every two weeks or so.

Yesterday when I noticed the bleak change, I also discovered the soil was very dry. I gave it a good watering, but today it looks even worse. The attached picture is from yesterday.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated, I hope it's not too late to save it.

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subtropix

Bay laurel is a tree--a large one. It needs a much bigger container with well draining soil. Watering a tree every two weeks weeks, in a tiny pot, in a warm home is not enough. Try to locate it in the coolest interior area. I used to try to grow these in smaller pots indoors--did not work. Much better results with larger containers or in the ground if your winters will allow it.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 10:37AM
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CA Kate

This was my immediate thought.... too small of a pot. I have a friend who's Bay Laural is 25' tall and 10' wide... planted in the ground, of course.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 10:51AM
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subtropix

Make sure you really saturate the soil. Submerge it into a bucket of water until there are no more bubbles rising to the surface. If you grow it containerized, consider moving it somewhere cool/cold but frost free (garage or attic might work if there is some light). In the ground, should be hardy to around Zone 7b. (The one in the picture has gone through several deep snowstorms over the years.)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:15PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The OP is in Norway. The Bay presumably needs to be indoors for the winter. I don't think repotting now would do any good. It needs bright light, very cool temperatures and not too much water. I see firewood in the background. Keeping this plant in a room with a log fire or woodburner will do it no good. Far too hot. Planting it in the ground now will not help but possibly it could be put outside for a few weeks more. What is the outdoor temperature at the moment?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:18PM
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cjohansen

The temperature is lingering around 0 at nights. I have put it outside now, hoping it will help the plant. Is there any treatment I can give it to perk it up? I'm sensing some disagreement on the pot size - should I give it a bigger pot and then soak it thoroughly?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 4:57PM
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subtropix

I would soak it now, in its smaller container. If your soil mix is too peaty, the watering you are doing may merely be running through the pot without even moistening the soil. Your tree has been inside now, so I would not be moving it out now with temps near 0 C.. Containerized plants are not as cold hardy as those in the ground. I don't know what gardening zone you are located in, but some areas of Norway experience fairly mild winters and you might be able to plant it outside in a good microclimate if you can get it through the winter. (Though not sure how it would respond to the lack of heat in the growing season, but I believe they are successful in Britain, so maybe.) As for container, it would definitely prefer a larger size. I think Flora's objection is doing it at this time of year. Frankly, I do transplanting when needed throughout the year as I do a lot of florescent light gardening in the basement, and tend to keep the indoor air fairly humid. I agree about keeping it as cool as possible when inside. (I used to grow them as containerized and just move into into a sunny garage for the winter.) You are going to get different opinions on the success of winter transplanting as this does depend on a lot of factors (humidity, light, temperatures, species, even your latitude).
I would add Bay Laurel do, in general, transplant reasonably well. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 5:33PM
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cjohansen

Thanks! I will try to repot it. It's a young plant, and I'm prepared to try again in the spring if it fails...

This post was edited by cjohansen on Fri, Nov 8, 13 at 1:21

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 1:16AM
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