Bay tree or Laurus is famous not only as spice. It has many useful properties.
The tree symbolizes symbol of nobility, wisdom, glory and intelligence. Poets, winners and people who have done a lot for their country, were awarded a laurel wreath in ancient Rome and Greece. People began to grow it as an ornamental since the sixth century.
If you properly cut off crown, a laurel tree will take many forms. For example, it may take the form of a ball or other shape.
A laurel tree grows mainly in the Mediterranean, the Caucasus and the Canary Islands.
These are evergreen shrubs or small trees. The trees can reach 16 meters in height. Life-span is up to 300 years.
There are only two kinds of the genus of laurel.
The tree has simple leaves with oblong shape, which grow on short stalks. The color of the leaves are dark green, the size reaches an average of 10 cm. The flowering period of the tree begins from April to May.
The flowers are collected in inflorescence umbrella-shaped with a white or cream color. Laurus is blooming rarely indoors.
Laurel tree - kinds of
Laurus azorica Its height reaches 15 m, with pubescent shoots. Habitat: Azores and the Canary Islands. The leaves are oval shaped, dark green color. The length of the leaves is up to 15 cm, the width 6-8 cm.
Its flowers are yellow and have the shape of an umbrella. The flowers grow by small groups from the axils of the leaves. The tree is blooming in late spring.
Sweet bay / Laurus nobilis The height of the bush is up to 6 m. The leaves are 20 cm in length and 8 cm in width. The leaves grow on short stalks. They have a velvety surface which is pleasant to the touch with pointed ends. The inflorescence is yellow, which are located in pairs in axils of leaves. Flowering begins in late spring.
Bay Tree indoor: Care
Care for the bay tree indoors is quite simple. It can easily adapt to different environmental conditions.
Lighting: Laurus prefers bright light but it can grow well in the shade. The tree must be protected from direct sunlight otherwise it can quickly dry out.
The plant is grown on the balcony, or loggia with partial shading. Shading is made by using curtains or special light reflecting paper. You need to regularly air the premises without drafts for successful growth of the plant. The pot must be rotated periodically to the light source for uniform growth of the crown.
Temperature: The temperature is kept 17-19 degrees during the growing season. It is recommended to put the plant outdoors in spring. Laurel tree is resistant to frosts and can spend the winter outdoors in minor frosts. You can grow it on the windowsill on the north side in the winter.
If you live in a mild climate zone, laurel can grow in the garden and be as a hedge.
Watering: The plant should be watered regularly but moderately since the spring. The temperature of water for watering has to 20-22 degrees. Watering slightly is reduced in the early autumn. In winter, the plant hardly watered. The overabundance of water leads to root rot.
Soil and humidity: The soil has to pass air and moisture very well. For the preparation of the soil is used: 2 parts ground sheet, 1 part of the turf, sand and peat. Prerequisite is the drainage of small stones or expanded clay.
Laurel prefers high humidity. In summer the plant is bathed beneath the warm shower.
During the winter you need to spray the plant. The room is moistened by using the sprayer if the temperature is above 18 degrees in the winter.
If the humidity is insufficient, the plant will begin to dry and insects will appear on the leaf surface.
Fertilizing: Bay Tree is fertilized once a month from spring to mid-autumn. Fertilizer is used mineral-based, liquid. In winter, the laurel does not need to fertilize additionally.
Transplanting: Bay tree transplanted in the spring. The soil is selected for laurel with a good transmittance of air and water. The composition of components is listed above.
Pot is selected for transplant of bush more than the previous. As rule, the pot must be more on 2-3 cm in diameter.
Young plants are transplanted each year. Adult plants are transplanted once in 3-4 years after five years of life.
Reproduction: Laurus is propagated by cuttings, seeds and root sprouts.
If you propagate the plant by seeds, it will be better adapted to the room conditions. The seeds are planted from February to March, following the temperature of 18 degrees.
By cuttings: Cuttings are cut off with green shoots from April to June.
Cuttings are necessary cut off from the green shoots during the period of April - June. In cuttings should be 2 - 3 internodes. They are planted in coarse sand at 45 degrees to the surface of the ground. Be sure to monitor soil moisture. The temperature was maintained 22-25° C.
Root sprouts: Shoots is separated from the roots and transplanted to soil. Care is the same as for cuttings. Pots are used small sizes.
Pests, diseases and difficulties of care
Aphids, spider mites, scale insects and mealybugs often destroy laurel tree. Healthy plants must be isolated from infected.
If a small number of pests, they are washed off with a sponge and water. For the destruction of a large number of pests are used store bought sprays.
Leaf spot is the most common disease of the laurel.
It occurs when a too high humidity and excess watering. For watering is used correct water norm.
The plant may die if:
- Pests are not eliminated for a long time.
- Watering is insufficient or too abundant.
- Direct sunlight is falling onto the surface of the plant for a long time.
If the leaves began to turn yellow and curl up, you will need to increase the humidity in the room.
Useful properties of laurel: Laurel leaves are used in cooking but they have and medicinal properties.
The essential oils which are contained in the leaves are used in medicine and perfume.
If the plant is grown in the home, it will be well freshen the air and to clean from toxic substances.
Bay Tree is used in medicine for the treatment of:
- diabetes mellitus
- respiratory tract disease,
- intestinal pain.
Treatment for inhalation - doctors recommend inhale the vapors of laurel.