Bay Laurel Basal Sprouts
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Charlotte Twaro
Posted on: February 21, 2004

I heard that bay laurel is very different in cooking when fresh leaves are used. Needless to say I had to try the bay laurel. Both plants are doing well. It is one of the bays I have a question about. Of the three I bought, I have two left, as I unfortunately I gave one to one of my brothers and he left it outside!!! The two remaining, I transplanted one into a plastic pot and the other in a clay pot. Both are doing well but the one in the clay pot is doing MUCH better. It has about 4 new leaves since I brought it inside and put them under lights. Now finally my questions (problem?): The one in the clay pot, just below the crown or graft has 2 what look like "water sprouts". Are these true bay laurel or is this a graft? If a graft, are they any good?

Our bay laurels are seed grown and therefore the shoots will be exactly like the parent plant. But even if it were a graft, there are only slight differences in the taste of all the plants, but they differ a lot in leaf shape and size as well as growth habit and vigour. The one you planted in the clay pot is very vigorous and is trying to be a bush, while the other seems content to become a tree.

In any event should I remove them or try to propagate them?

You can remove them if you prefer a single stem plant rather than a bushy one, but rooting them is going to be very difficult. We do some cutting propagation, but this works best in a cool greenhouse with intermittent misting in a sand bed.

I plan on putting the bay laurel in the ground outside about May. Should I bring the soil up to the crown or over it? I have never grown the bay laurel before, and I did take a few of the leaves for some of my roasts and I have noticed there is a difference in the fresh and the dried!!

Your plant would get less of a shock in the fall when you have to bring it in before frost, if you plant it outside, pot and all. In any case try to never change the level of the soil from what it was or you may suffocate the plant.

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