The laurel plant (Laurus) is a member of the Laurel family. They are found naturally in the Mediterranean region and the Canary Islands. In today's English taxonomy, there are about 40 species of laurel.
Features of laurel
Laurel is an evergreen tree or shrub. Simple sheet plates, leathery to the touch, have a solid, slightly wavy edge. During flowering, axillary umbellate inflorescences are formed. If young bushes are well cared for, then they will grow and develop normally in the heat with low air humidity. However, it is highly undesirable to grow an adult plant in such conditions.
Brief description of cultivation
- Bloom... Laurel is grown as an ornamental deciduous plant.
- Illumination... Needs lots of bright light.
- Temperature regime... During the spring-summer period - from 20 to 26 degrees, and in the fall - from 12 to 15 degrees.
- Watering... During the growing season it is necessary to water abundantly and systematically, do this immediately after drying the top layer of the soil mixture in the pot. On hot days, watering is carried out twice a day. With the onset of autumn, watering is reduced, while in winter it should be rare and scarce, but it is impossible to allow the clod of earth in a pot to dry out.
- Air humidity... It should be elevated. In the heat, the bush is systematically moistened from a spray bottle, and wet expanded clay is poured into the pan.
- Fertilizer... During the growing season, feeding is carried out every 4 weeks, using a mineral complex fertilizer for this. In winter, fertilizer is not applied to the soil mixture.
- Dormant period... Observed in October – March.
- Transfer... Young bushes are transplanted 1 time in a couple of years, and adults - 1 time in 3 or 4 years.
- Soil mixture... It should include sand, peat, turf, humus and leafy soil (1: 1: 1: 2: 2).
- Pruning... The bush is pruned in mid-August.
- Reproduction... By cuttings and seed method.
- Harmful insects... Scabbards, spider mites and mealybugs.
- Diseases... A sooty mushroom.
- Properties... Laurel has medicinal properties, and it is also widely used as a spice.
How to grow a (laurel) laurel tree at home? - All will be kind - Issue 53 - 10/01/2012
Laurel care at home
Laurel needs a lot of bright light, while the direct rays of the sun do no harm to it. In this regard, it is recommended to grow it on a south-facing window. If possible, in the warm season, the bush can be taken outside. Despite the fact that it perfectly tolerates the direct rays of the sun, a newly purchased plant, or after wintering, must be accustomed to bright light gradually, otherwise sunburn may appear on the surface of the foliage. In winter, the bush is transferred to a cool, but well-lit place.
In the warm season, the following air temperature is recommended for the laurel - from 20 to 26 degrees. With the onset of autumn weeks, the temperature in the room is gradually reduced. And in winter, in order for the plant to suffer as little as possible, the temperature in the room should be from 12 to 15 degrees.
In the spring and summer, the bush should be watered abundantly using soft water. The soil mixture in the pot is moistened immediately after its top layer dries. If the room is too hot, then watering can be done twice a day. With the onset of autumn, watering is reduced, and in the winter months it is carried out only when two or three days have passed since the top layer of the substrate dries out.
Laurel grows normally and develops only at high air humidity, in this regard, it must be regularly moistened from a spray bottle with well-settled water. And experts also advise, pour wet peat or expanded clay into the pallet and put a pot on it, but at the same time its bottom should not come into contact with the liquid.
During active growth, home laurel should be fed with mineral fertilizers once every four weeks.
Laurel tolerates pruning well, so it can be done regularly. During this procedure, the bush can be given any shape that you like best. Pruning is carried out only when the intensive growth of the bush stops, as a rule, this time falls in mid-August. The eyes remaining on the plant after cutting will develop well before the onset of winter, and in spring, after the beginning of the growing season, they will give young shoots.
If pruning is done in the spring, then the strong eyes at the top should be cut off. And from the remaining weaker eyes, the increase will not be very large.
Laurel is one of the slow-growing plants. Therefore, its transplant is carried out only if necessary, after the root system becomes very cramped in the pot. As a rule, young bushes are transplanted 1 time in 2 years, and adults - 1 time in 3 or 4 years. A soil mixture suitable for transplanting should consist of peat, sand, humus, sod and leafy soil (1: 1: 2: 1: 2). Please note that the mixture of earth must be slightly alkaline or neutral.
Laurel grows well at home and develops in small pots, so for transplanting you need to use a container that is only 20 mm larger in diameter than the old one. When transplanting an adult bush, the size of the tub is increased by no more than 50 mm. A good drainage layer must be made at the bottom of the container.
Laurel. [Hope and Peace]
Diseases and pests
If the humidity level in the room is too low, this may cause yellowing and folding of the sheet plates. In this case, take all necessary measures to increase the humidity.
Of the pests, mealybugs, scale insects and spider mites settle on the bush most often.
Reproduction of laurel
Growing from seeds
Sowing laurel seeds is carried out in spring, for this use bowls, pots or boxes filled with an earth mixture consisting of sand, sod and leafy soil (1: 2: 2). During sowing, make sure that the temperature of the substrate is at least 18 degrees.
When 1-2 true leaf plates are formed on the seedlings that have appeared, a dive is carried out into a larger box filled with the same soil mixture, while keeping a distance of at least 20 mm between the bushes. Fortified seedlings are planted in separate pots, reaching 70 mm in diameter, while using a soil mixture consisting of sand, leaf, turf and peat soil (1: 2: 4: 1).
Young bushes should be grown in a well-lit cool (10-12 degrees) place, while they need to be watered and moistened in a timely manner from a spray bottle.
Laurel cuttings are harvested either in April or in the first summer weeks. Good cuttings should be not lignified, reach about 80 mm in length, and also have two or three internodes. Pour a layer of soddy soil 30–40 mm thick at the bottom of the container, and cover it with sand (20–30 mm thick). Shorten the sheet plates on them and burrow into the substrate by 15 mm, while the distance between them should be about 10 centimeters. Rooting of cuttings will take about 1 month, at which time the air temperature in the room should be between 16 and 20 degrees. Rooted cuttings must be planted in separate pots, reaching 70 mm in diameter, and the soil mixture and care are provided for them the same as when growing laurel from seeds.
Laurel noble. Propagation by cuttings. Part 2.
The healing properties of laurel
Laurel foliage is widely used as a spice and also has a stimulating effect. Laurel leaf is recommended for colic and hysteria, and it also stimulates the removal of excess fluid from the body. And also fruits and foliage are used for flatulence. In alternative medicine, in the presence of localized tumors, the extract of any part of laurel is used as an anticancer agent. These extracts are also used for facial skin care. Laurel oil is added to the ointments used for rheumatism.
Dried foliage is used to make tinctures. To do this, crushed leaf plates are poured with forty or seventy percent alcohol in a ratio of 1: 5. Cap the bottle tightly and leave it at room temperature for 7 days. The filtered product is poured into a bottle and stored in a cool and warm place.
In November-December, foliage contains the largest amount of essential oils. Therefore, during this period, experts advise collecting leaves, which are then used in cooking. Shrubs that are 4–5 years old are suitable for collecting foliage.
The main types of laurel
Azores laurel (Laurus azorica), or Canary laurel (Laurus canariensis)
In nature, the species is found on the island of Madeira, and also on the Canary and Azores islands in the lower part of the mountains. The height of the trees is about 15 meters, there is pubescence on the surface of their stems. The length of the greenish ovoid leaf plates is about 12 centimeters, and their width is no more than 6 centimeters. During flowering, several umbrella-shaped inflorescences, consisting of yellowish flowers, grow from the leaf sinuses. Flowering is observed in the second half of spring.
Laurel noble (Laurus nobilis)
Under natural conditions, such a plant can be found in the west of the Caucasus, and also in the Mediterranean at an altitude of 300 meters above sea level. The height of the bush varies from 4 to 8 meters. The shoots are naked, they grow leathery to the touch, simple leaf plates that have a lanceolate shape, their length is about 20 centimeters, and their width is up to 8 centimeters. Short-peaked foliage is pointed. From each leaf sinus, one or two umbrellas grow, which consists of yellow flowers. There are several forms that differ from each other in the shape and size of the foliage. Flowering is observed in the second half of the spring.
Laurel on the windowsill. Practical advice on care and reproduction.
Laurel care at home
In culture, only Laurel noble, which has established itself as a rather hardy and unpretentious plant, is grown. Despite its rapid growth and rather solid dimensions in its natural habitat, in an ordinary city apartment it rarely exceeds a meter in height and easily adapts to room conditions.
Lighting... Laurel is a light-loving plant and in the open air favors direct sunlight. However, indoors, in the absence of wind and the effect of natural cooling, the sun can burn the surface of the leaves quite strongly, therefore, when placed on southern windows, it should be shaded at midday. On the western and eastern window sills, such protection is not required for the tree, and windows oriented to the north are of little use for it.
Temperature... The summer temperature range of central Russia is quite acceptable for the comfortable well-being of this plant. It calmly tolerates both values within 20 ° C and insignificant exceedances of the 30 ° C mark. In winter, he needs to provide a dormant period and cool content at 8 - 10 ° C.
The best option for maintaining the required temperature range would be to place the laurel in the garden or on the balcony. Here it can be kept up to frost, and on a warmed loggia - and throughout the winter, since this tree can also withstand small freezing temperatures, although it is not recommended to abuse them. Even if the leaves survive the cold at minus 5 ° C, the soil in the pot will freeze, and with it the roots, which will lead to the death of the plant.
It should be noted that the laurel is not afraid of drafts and in winter, the room with it can be safely ventilated.
Watering... The watering regime in the warm season is selected such that the soil surface has time to dry out a little. In winter, watering is somewhat reduced, since a dormant plant evaporates moisture more slowly, and prolonged stagnation of water in the soil contributes to the development of various rots that cause the death of the plant, and the cold content only aggravates the unpleasant consequences.
For irrigation, use soft, well-settled water at room temperature.
Air humidity... Laurel prefers high air humidity, so it needs regular spraying of the crown and other methods of local humidification. For example, next to it, you can place wide containers with water or put a pot with a plant on a pallet with wet expanded clay. Many growers grow laurel in the kitchen, where the air is naturally humidified, saturated with steam from boiling water.
It is useful to periodically rinse the crown under a warm (about 40 ° C) shower. This will not only refresh the plant, but also remove dust and dirt from the large shiny leaves.
TO soil laurel is undemanding and can grow in ordinary garden soil, provided that it is sufficiently air and moisture permeable and has a neutral or slightly alkaline reaction.
However, the soil collected within the city is often salted, saturated with oil and various substances aggressive to laurel. Therefore, if it is not possible to bring land from a suburban area, it is better to purchase a ready-made potting mix in specialized flower shops. For laurel, “Palm” soil is suitable, which is used for growing palms, ficuses, boxwood, etc. It is advisable to add a little crushed charcoal and coarse river sand to it. Before planting, a little coarse claydite should be poured on the bottom of the pot - a drainage layer that prevents stagnation of water in the soil.
Top dressing... During the growing season, the plant is fed once every two weeks with fertilizers for palm trees, using the concentration and recommendations indicated on the package.
During the dormant period, the tree does not need fertilizers.
Transfer... Young plants are transplanted every year, in spring, in larger pots. As they grow older, this procedure is carried out less and less, and completely adult plants are transplanted every 3-4 years, while removing part of the old depleted land, gently shaking it off the roots.
Trimming and shaping... A laurel growing at home can be formed both as a shrub and as a standard tree, or not touch its crown, allowing it to form naturally. This plant tolerates pruning well, thanks to which you can not only restrain its growth, but also increase its splendor.
Laurel propagates quite hard, since the seeds quickly lose their germination, and the percentage of rooting of cuttings is very small. The most successful, albeit rather rare, method of propagation is by root cuttings.
On cuttings in March, cut off the tops of semi-lignified shoots with 2 - 3 internodes. They are planted in a prepared soil mixture, after pretreating the tips in heteroauxin, and placed in mini-greenhouses with heating and additional lighting.
Diseases and pests... Most often, the laurel tree is affected by the scabbard. At the first signs of infection, the crown should be thoroughly rinsed under a warm shower (about 45 ° C) to remove sticky insect secretions, and the wax shields should be carefully removed with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol-containing liquid. After this procedure, it is recommended to rinse the crown again.
If the infection is very extensive and the procedure described above did not help, the plant is treated with Aktara or Confidor.
Another pest is a spider mite. To combat it, the plant should also be rinsed under a warm shower, and then treated with Aktellik or Fitoverm.
Laurel is not very susceptible to viral and fungal diseases. The main reasons for his poor health are improper care. In particular:
- leaves dry and fall off in dense soil or too dry and hot air
- leaves turn yellow and curl with insufficient air humidity
- the lower leaves turn yellow and fall off when over-watered
- the root collar is covered with a white bloom with frequent flooding of the soil.
Advice... Despite the fact that Laurel noble is a popular culinary seasoning and a valuable medicinal plant, you should not pick off the leaves from a young tree. After such a procedure, it can slow down growth or, in general, get sick for a long time, since the presence of a sufficient green mass is one of the guarantees of the correct development of the root system.
Reproduction of the noble laurel
Despite its status as a popular plant, laurel propagation is not an easy task. Cuttings of the plant can only be cut in mid-spring (April) and the first half of summer (June-July). Root them under a hood, maintaining a light moisture content of the substrate and a temperature of about 25 degrees. Young plants require cool wintering and perfect care.
Indoor laurels are also grown from seeds. The result will have to wait for several years, but there is nothing complicated in sowing and the plants develop quickly. Sowing laurel seeds is carried out in the spring, to a depth of 1-2 cm, in a mixture of substrate and sand in equal parts. Crops should be kept warm at temperatures ranging from 18 to 23 degrees.
Seedlings dive after the appearance of the second true leaf. Usually two picks are used, seedlings are transferred to individual containers only for the next year. The most important thing in maintenance is to maintain an average air humidity and a constant light soil moisture. At the beginning of plant development, it is better to keep it cool; wintering at low temperatures for seedlings is mandatory.