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Laurel – Laurus nobilis cultivation


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L’laurel, Laurus nobilis, commonly called Laurel it is a very common plant in temperate climate zones cultivated for ornamental purposes for hedges and borders.

Characteristics and generalities of the Laurel

L’laurel is a perennial and evergreen shrub plant belonging to the Lauraceae family. It is widespread along the coastal areas of the Mediterranean, up to Asia Minor. In Italy it grows spontaneously in almost all central-southern regions and along the coasts, while in the northern regions it is cultivated that, when grown as a tree, reaches considerable heights.

Laurel in nature can even exceed 10 meters in height. It has a robust root system that anchors it firmly to the ground. The trunk, woody and aromatic, has a blackish-green bark. the mostly pyramidal crown is made up of numerous thin and hairless branches covered with rich fragrant foliage.

Read also: Laurel property


Her lanceolate leaves, aromatic and leathery, they have a beautiful glossy green color on the upper side and dull green on the lower side. They are aromatic and are used fresh and dried in various sectors.

Laurel is a dioecious plant: the male and female flowers are carried on different plants


THE flowers laurel are pale yellow in color and are gathered in umbrella-shaped inflorescences that generally appear in the axils of the branches. Pollination is anemophilous, that is, it occurs by the wind.


At the end of flowering i fruits similar to olives.

Laurel berries

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THE fruits or drupes, are greenish berries that turn black when fully ripe and are similar to olives. The ripening of the berries is completed in autumn, between October-November.


The fruits are used together with the leaves for the preparation of laurel liqueur or laurin.

Inside, the berries contain a dark seed.


Blooming laurel

In spring, in March-April, many yellow and fragrant flowers appear on the dense branches of the laurel from March.


Cultivation of Laurel – Laurus nobilis -Laurus


The laurel loves sunny places but also grows well in semi-shaded areas. Withstands the sultry heat of summer and even low winter temperatures.


It adapts to any type of well-drained soil rich in minerals. It also grows well in gravelly or sandy soil.


The Laurus nobilis grown in the ground is a shrub that is generally satisfied with rainwater. It should be watered only in periods of prolonged drought, if it is still young or recently planted. If grown in pots, on the other hand, it needs more frequent watering but only when the soil is dry.



Every 3-4 months give the base of the plants a slow-release granular fertilizer specific for green plants. A fertilization rich in nitrogen and phosphorus before planting will help the growth and development of laurel plants, making sure that the fertilizer does not come into direct contact with the roots.

Laurel-growing in pot

Laurel: cultivation in pots

This aromatic and evergreen plant can be easily grown without any problem even in a fairly tall and deep pot in a garden soil, well drained at the bottom with a 10cm layer of expanded clay or gravel. The pot is then placed in an area of ​​the balcony or terrace exposed to full sun and the soil must be wet when it is completely dry and enriched every 15 days with fertilizer with a high nitrogen content (N) but also rich in phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and also a good dose of micronutrients useful for the regular growth of the laurel. It should also be pruned every year to contain its growth.


The Laurel plant should be repotted every 2 years or when the roots come out of the drainage holes of the watering. The new pot must be larger and deeper than the previous one and the new soil must be rich in organic matter.


Multiplication of laurel

It reproduces by seeds, cutting and separation of the basal suckers.

Multiplication by seed

Sowing is done in autumn – winter in light soil composed of sand, earth and peat.

After having scarified the seeds with a bath in boiling water or by rubbing (be careful not to break the eye of the seed) with sandpaper.

The seeds are left to cool in water and then stratify in a specific soil kept humid and at a constant temperature of 20 ° C.

Once germination has taken place, the seedbed should be transferred to a bright place but not exposed to direct sunlight.

When the seedlings are sufficiently developed and robust they can be transferred to single pots and reared in them until the final planting.

Propagation by cuttings

The laurel easily propagates by cutting a vegetative or agamic reproduction that ensures plants identical to the original one.

  • In autumn, using well-sharpened and disinfected shears, take apical cuttings, about 15 cm long;
  • the cauline leaves are eliminated and only the apical ones are left;
  • the cuttings are buried for 2/3 of their length in a box containing a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts kept constantly humid until complete rooting which is signaled by the appearance of new leaves.
  • they are left to strengthen and then can be transferred to individual pots and reared in them until the moment of final planting, in the ground or in pots.


Laurel plant

Laurel plants purchased from nurseries should be planted in holes twice the size of the pot, avoiding the breaking of the earthen bread. At the bottom of the holes intended to accommodate the plants, draining material should be placed to avoid harmful water stagnation. The laurel plants to be grown as shrubs and used to make fencing hedges should be spaced about 1 meter apart. If you grow trees, however, the distance to be respected must be at least 3 meters. The best time to plant is late spring or when the risk of late frosts is completely averted.


Laurel pruning

The laurel should be pruned at the end of winter to contain the development in height, to give harmony to the foliage and to favor the emission of lateral shoots.


Diseases and pests of laurel

The laurel, despite being a rustic shrub, suffers from the white disease or powdery mildew that occurs on branches and leaves with deposits of whitish dust.

White powdery mildew

Oziorrinco fears an insect that feeds on its leaves, leaving the characteristic crescent marks of its chewing apparatus.


Laurel conservation

The leaves and fruits laurel can be kept in glass jars after drying them in well-ventilated places.

Uses of laurel Laurus nobilis

Laurel is grown for ornamental purposes for borders and hedges and for its wide use in various sectors.

Laurel is used in the kitchen to flavor meat and fish dishes, gravies and sauces, boiled chestnuts, for the preparation of aromatic and digestive liqueur, and also as a natural remedy to keep annoying moths away from the cupboards. In ancient times it was also used to preserve books and parchments.
The essential oil obtained from bay leaves combined with olive oil is used for the preparation of the famous Aleppo soap (Syria), an ancient artisan soap that according to archaeological evidence dates back to 2500 BC

In phytotherapy and cosmetology for its beneficial properties, the leaves are used to prepare refreshing decoctions with digestive qualities, soothing creams for the skin even foot baths.

Use in medicine

The components of bay leaves are used in conventional medicine to make drugs for the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis, cough and flu symptoms

Meaning of flowers: Laurel

In the language of flowers, laurel symbolizes triumph, glory and ambition. The term Laurea, as the achievement of a whole course of studies, derives from laurel, that is laurel, a symbol of triumph in studies.

Is laurel poisonous?

L’laurel of the species Laurus nobilis it is not poisonous, indeed it is used in the kitchen to flavor foods or as a spice for barbecues, and as an infusion for relaxing herbal teas.

The only toxic species is the cherry laurel laurel due to the presence of hydrocyanic acid, which can cause damage to the metabolic level and with serious implications for the kidney, recognizable by its smell of bitter almonds.



Since ancient times, the laurel has been a symbol of glory, peace and protection. The beneficial properties of this rustic evergreen plant were already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. A laurel wreath is also a symbol of clothing designed by Fred Perry, a British designer, even more famous as a tennis player as he won three times of the Wimbledon tournament.

Photo gallery Laurel or Laurus nobilis


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