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Old June 3, 2016   #1
Tracydr
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Default Bay laurel-

I bought two adorable,teeny,tiny bay trees off Amazon. I plan to pot them up but wondering what type of soil I should use. I'm assuming something that drains really well like I used for the citrus trees? I used a mixture of regular potting mix,pine bark fines and something else that I can't remember.
Also,can they be grown in the ground in southern NC? Once they get larger I would like to plant them in the ground if possible. The greenhouse is starting to get a bit crowded with citrus and avocados,plus seed starting.
How much should I fertilize these trees and what type of schedule? Can I just treat them like my citrus?
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Old June 3, 2016   #2
Worth1
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I bought two tiny bay trees and planted them right in the ground.

They seem to like wet soil but there is too much conflicting information on the internet.
I have read everything from rich well drained soil to wet marshy soil.
Not frost hardy to good to zone 7.
Some people say it cant tolerate the cold well what the heck is that supposed to mean?

Mine have survived just about everything Texas could throw at it.
From temps down to 10 F to drought to flood.

There are getting to be way too many blogs on line telling people how to do stuff.

I would say feed it twice a year and keep it watered like you would a tomato.
Mine never seem to go dormant you never know when they will put on new leaves.

If you plant on using the leaves there is still more controversy on line about that.
Some people say to dry them first for best flavor others say fresh.
What I do is if I want one I go get it and use it.

If you have never has a fresh bay leaf from a real bay tree they are a thing to behold.
Much of the stuff in the store isn't real bay leaves.


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Old June 3, 2016   #3
GrowingCoastal
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I've had one in the ground in a protected location for about 12 years. Zone 7. It wants to grow much bigger than I allow it in its pruned ball form, like topiary, ball on a stick. Must be about 5 ft across and 8-9 ft tall. We do get much colder than 10F. 23F is not uncommon for a few days each winter here and sometimes colder for longer but the laurel thrives. I wait until August to harvest and shape up the form again. I think the hot days increase the flavour of the leaves. A popular seller at the farmers' market my daughter sells at.

I expected this plant to be tender and small and tried it as an experiment. If I had know how hardy it is I would have planted it further away from the house!

From reading comments about bay laurel elsewhere it seems that some people cannot taste the flavour of this one at all. I always have to keep some for friends as they all like the addition to their cooking and even dried it is still fresher than anything we can buy here.

PS
I have never fertilized this plant once established and can't recall that I ever did . Ordinary garden soil would do fine.

Last edited by GrowingCoastal; June 3, 2016 at 01:07 PM. Reason: add ps
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Old June 3, 2016   #4
Bodhi Peace
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If it is anything like California bay then it doesn't need a well-drained soil. We have one bay laurel tree.

In the forest, the bay tree likes a cool, shady, wet soil. The bay tree doesn't often grow in full sun, more often the forest understory. Shade or partial shade is the key here. The ground beneath - hard, damp, cold to the touch. Our bay grows in symbiosis with the other trees of the forest. It grows up and up and up until it sometimes reaches the sunny canopy.

It doesn't need a lot of fertility. Maybe in fact the harsher conditions would impart more flavor to the leaves? Maybe a myth? I would hold back on the fertilizer.
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Old June 3, 2016   #5
kayrobbins
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I have grown them in large pots and in the ground. It should be fine in zone 7. The important thing is to use the leaves and if you don't need still keep the tree trimmed to a height that you can reach the top of. They do get scale from time to time and if you the tree get too tall you will not be able to control it. If you want to keep it in a pot every few years take it out, root prune it and give it some fresh soil. When growing in a pot I did give it some fertilizer but in ground I never bother.

Fresh leaves are great to use when you are cooking and if you make refrigerator pickles a leaf or tow in each jar help with crispness. They are also good to use in cooking if you have dried them. I always have dried on hand when the weather makes me not want to go out and get fresh leaves .
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Old June 3, 2016   #6
Deborah
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My Mom used bay leaves but I can't remember what she was cooking that would call for bay leaves. What do you put them in?
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Old June 3, 2016   #7
Tracydr
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This is all great information!
I think I'll give these babies some time in pots and than plant out in the dirt next spring.
If they are understory I have a perfect place in my house herb garden for them! Plenty of room, morning sun.
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Old June 3, 2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
My Mom used bay leaves but I can't remember what she was cooking that would call for bay leaves. What do you put them in?
Just about anything you want to put them in.
If you like the flavor put it in it.
Note the dried stuff you get from the store isn't that good and or strong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracydr View Post
This is all great information!
I think I'll give these babies some time in pots and than plant out in the dirt next spring.
If they are understory I have a perfect place in my house herb garden for them! Plenty of room, morning sun.
Both of mine are understory.
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Old June 3, 2016   #9
efisakov
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I can not imagine cooking soup, stew, many other dishes without it. In Crimea they look more like a bush and are not picky at all, will grow anywhere.
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Old June 8, 2016   #10
Bodhi Peace
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I find it interesting... the idea of growing a tree for some of its leaves.
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Old June 8, 2016   #11
DanishGardener
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I grow mine in a very large terracotta pot, that I move into my unheated greenhouse in the winter. It is semi-hardy here in Denmark, and will die or freeze back in the hardest winters if not protected in some way. Mine is over 10 years old.
They like a well watered, humus rich soil in my experience.

A great plant to have in the garden, and a must have in the kitchen!

Last edited by DanishGardener; June 8, 2016 at 03:32 PM.
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Old June 8, 2016   #12
Tracydr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanishGardener View Post
I grow mine in a very large terracotta pot, that I move into my unheated greenhouse in the winter. It is semi-hardy here in Denmark, and will die or freeze back in the hardest winters if not protected in some way. Mine is over 10 years old.
They like a well watered, humus rich soil in my experience.

A great plant to have in the garden, and a must have in the kitchen!
If they are semi-hardy in Denmark they should do just fine here. I thought,since it's a Meditteranean herb,that it would like California conditions but it sounds more like something that should thrive here,in our semi-tropical rain forest.
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Old June 8, 2016   #13
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The Mediterranean has many climates.
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Old June 8, 2016   #14
DanishGardener
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In the wild, I think it grows in higher altitude mixed forest. (with oak, pine ect.). The mountain regions in the south/mediterranean area can get cold temperatues and snow and if that is where the laurel grows, it can probably tolerate colder temperatures than most people think. The soil in my terracotta pot is in most years, more or less frozen from december-march, even in the unheated greenhouse.
It is also important to note, that there is more than one cultivar/variety of bay laurel (Laurus nobilis). Their hardiness could vary.
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Old June 9, 2016   #15
Marko
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Bay laurel tolerates frost very well, but can not stand sun rays when the plant is frozen. Morning sun after cold night will burn leaves and small branches.
I have one plant behind a house that don't have sun before 10am and is doing perfectly well. It survided -17C (1.4F) with no damage.
Taste of my bay leaves is much more intensive than store bought. I'cant imagine cooking beans wihout bay leaves.
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