Bay Laurel Plant Dried Up
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Joanne Cowan
Posted on: February 21, 2004

My son who lived in Seattle gave me a bay plant that he had grown. I brought it home to Wyoming. It got quite dry, but to my knowledge did not freeze although it might have gotten a touch of frost. The leaves all dried up and fell off. Will it come back or do I need to find a new one beore he comes home and if I do, where do I find one? He also gave my sister one which is growing just fine. Can we start another plant from this one or what do I do?

I presume your question concerns bay laurel and not bayberry. Common names are confusing especially since we sell both.

To respond to your last comment first: Richters sells bay laurel seed. We back-order the seeds and ship as soon as the seeds are starting to germinate -- usually in early May. We also sell small plants and that might be a better option if you don’t want to admit failure! However we do not ship until late May to early June, since plants would freeze in transit during our long and cold winter.

Don’t give up on the bay laurel as long as the stem does not dry out. Keep it moist, but not sitting in water. You may have to enclose the plant in a plastic bag and keep it in a bright spot OUT OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT until it starts to grow new leaves. The growth spurt is the signal that the roots have regrown enough to allow you to start opening the bag gradually and removing it eventually over the course of a month.

You can start a plant from a cutting of your sister’s plant, but it is not easy. Tear off a short branch so that a heel is left at the base of the cutting. They do best if grown in a bright, but not sunny spot, in a damp sand bed and are misted several times per day. Dipping the stem end into rooting hormone before planting will be a big help. An overgrowth or callus will probably form first and later roots should emerge from the callus. Once roots are formed, you can plant the cutting into rich sandy soil.

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