How to propagate laurels

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How to propagate laurels
The bay tree, a type of laurel, produces aromatic leaves used in many recipes. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

There are a variety of types of laurel grown in Britain including the bay tree, common laurel and Portuguese laurel. Laurels are evergreen and can be grown as a single specimen or trained and cut as a hedge. The bay tree has the advantage of producing aromatic leaves which are widely used as a herb in cooking, either fresh or dried. Laurels are very difficult to grow from seed, but you're much likelier to succeed by propagating them from cuttings.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Secateurs
  • Sharp knife
  • Sharp sand or fine grit
  • Potting compost
  • 15-centimetre (6-inch) pots
  • Pencil

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut the growing shoots of the laurel in the summer to a length of about 10 to 15 centimetres (4 to 6 inches) with secateurs. Trim the shoots with a sharp knife, cutting the base at an angle just below a growing leave. Remove the leaves on the stem, leaving four or five at the top.

  2. 2

    Fill 15-centimetre (6-inch) pots with a 50-50 mixture of potting compost and sharp sand or fine grit. Make a hole in each pot 3 to 4 centimetres (1 to 1 1/2 inches) deep with a pencil. Dip the cut tips of the prepared cuttings in hormone rooting powder.

  3. 3

    Insert the cuttings into the holes and firm the compost around them. Give them some water so that they remain damp but not waterlogged. Keep the pots over winter in a greenhouse or cold frame. The following spring, put the pots out after the risk of frost has passed.

  4. 4

    Plant the cuttings out in their intended growing positions when they are producing new buds. Plant them in rich compost in a well-drained spot and keep watering them until they are well established.

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