Laurel is a very popular plant both for the pleasant aroma it gives off and for the usual use of bay leaves as a condiment in Mediterranean cuisine. It is a shrub with great adaptability, which can fulfill all kinds of functions, both in large gardens and indoors, and it all depends on how it is grown.
If you want to learn how to take care of the laurel plant, keep reading us in this Green Ecologist article in which you will see a complete guide to laurel care.
The laurel tree is actually a bush which can grow to about 15 meters, although potted laurel can also be grown without problems. This plant, which came from the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor through the Romans, has the 3 species of the genus Laurus, of the Lauraceae family, which come from the Azores, the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean basin.
The most common is the Laurus nobilis, that of the Mediterranean area, which is commonly known as laurel, lauro, loreto or laurel de Apolo. It has leathery leaves of striking dark green, oval and very aromatic. Its flowers are yellow and very small, without ornamental value, and appear in spring.
Its cultivation is common due to its pleasant scent, for its value as a spice and, also, for its ability to form very dense hedges, which even allow the creation of topiary art and partitions outdoors, as windbreaks or to limit visibility.
As a plant of temperate origin, it prefers climates like the mediterranean, without extreme temperatures on the rise or, especially, on the drop. Frosts have the ability to cause significant damage to the plant and snow tends to accumulate, breaking its branches due to excess weight, since it does not lose its leaves in winter.
If the climate is dry, it is best to find a location in shade or semi-shade, while in humid or colder climates it will prefer direct exposures to the sun, with all the possible hours of incidence. Indoors, it will be necessary to find spaces that are as sunny as possible, and control its growth with proper pruning.
The laurel is not demanding with its soil, being the only important point that offers a drainage as best as possible, since the puddles are very harmful. Check the drainage of your garden soil by watering and checking where the water pools and where it doesn't. If you don't have any suitable areas, you can always plant it in a pot or dig about half a meter, since its roots are not invasive, and fill it yourself with a light, well-draining mixture.
It is not too demanding on the pH of the soil, but there are those who say that slightly alkaline soils are more beneficial.
This plant, when planted in the ground, hardly needs watering, resisting even in dry summer months without problems. You will need to water it more often if it is located at a high altitude or in shallow soil. Logically and like all plants, if you grow your Potted laurel will need more frequent waterings, but remember to always put it in a pot with drainage holes and remove the excess water from the dish after watering.
If you have doubts as to the amount to water, it is better to sin in lack than in excess as you learn to observe your laurel and see if it lacks water or not.
As it is not a demanding shrub in terms of nutrients, it will suffice with pay it in the warm months during the first years of its life, with organic or nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Later, adding some worm cast, compost, manure or chicken manure to the bottom of the plant in early spring will suffice.
Once your desired size is reached, you can stop composting so it doesn't spread further and just sticks.
Regarding pruning, this resistant plant can be pruned at any time of the year where there is no risk of very high or very low temperatures soon. There is much written about how to prune it specifically according to the shape you want to give it, because it is an art, but here we will tell you that, if you want to form a hedge with them, plant them about 50 cm apart and prune them sides of the branches that extend too far to the sides, to keep the more even and somewhat rounded shape of garden hedges.
It is not usual for this plant to be threatened by pests or diseases, since if it is in good condition it will not normally be an easy target.
However, it may happen that, due to different circumstances, she ends up being attacked by the mealybug and the bold fungus which usually comes with this one. In these cases, it is best to treat the pest quickly, with ecological remedies and extending the treatment until complete eradication. In this other post you can learn about one of the types of mealybugs that usually attack plants: Eliminate the cottony mealybug: treatment and home remedies.
If you want to read more articles similar to Laurel care, we recommend that you enter our category of Cultivation and care of plants.