Bay Tree (laurus nobilis)
5 grams (approx 7 seeds) £1.10
10 grams (approx 14 seeds) £1.55
25 grams (approx 35 seeds) £2.85
50 grams (approx 70 seeds) £4.50
100 grams (approx 140 seeds) £8.00
250 grams (approx 350 seeds) £17.50
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It is a native of the Mediterranean region and isn't hardy in the North. Its shiny, dark green, fragrant leaves were once twined into wreaths by the ancient Romans and Greeks and were used to crown the champions in their sports and wars.
This tree may grow 30 feet or more high, where winter temperatures are not too harsh. I have seen it withstand temperatures below -15 Celsius. It cannot however tolerate dry freezing winds.
In Europe it can reach a 60-foot height if grown under the best conditions. It may be cultivated in large tubs and pruned into many different forms. Bay can live as a woody houseplant for many years.
Male and female flowers grow on different trees and the black berries only form on female trees that have a male tree growing nearby to provide pollen. The leaves contain an essential oil, which is sometimes used in the manufacturing of perfumes. Whole leaves are used for flavoring and other culinary purposes.
Germination, Sowing and After Care Information for
Bay Tree (laurus nobilis)
First prepare a free draining substrate into which the seeds are to be mixed, this can be a 50/50 mixture of compost and sharp sand, or perlite, vermiculite or even just pure sharp sand has worked well for me. The chosen substrate needs to be moist (but not wet), if you can squeeze water out of it with your hand it is too wet and your seeds may drown and die. Mix the seeds into the substrate, making sure that their is enough volume of material to keep the seeds separated.
Place the seed mixture into a clear plastic bag (freezer bags, especially zip-lock bags are very useful for this -provided a little gap is left in the seal for air exchange) If it is not a zip-lock type bag it needs to be loosely tied. Then write the date on the bag so that you know when the pretreatment was started.
The seeds require a cold period to break the dormancy that is naturally found within them, this is easily achieved by placing the prepared bag of seeds and compost mix in the fridge (4 Celsius or 39F) for between 6 and 9 weeks. It is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up.
When the period of pre treatment has finished the seed should be ready to be planted. Small quantities can be sown in pots filled with a good quality compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost no more than 1cm (half an inch) deep. For larger quantities it is easiest to sow the seeds in a well prepared seedbed outdoors once the cold pretreatment has finished and wait for the seedlings to appear.
This species can often have very high levels of germination if the pretreatment is carried out correctly. Seeds that have not germinated can have the pre treatment repeated several times if necessary. Take care that the pre treatment medium is not overly moist or seeds can be prone to rotting.
Do not expose newly sown seeds to high temperatures (above 25 Celsius) otherwise a secondary dormancy may be induced and the seeds will not germinate until they have been pretreated again. Germinated seeds can be planted in pots or plug trays in a good quality compost. Keep the seedlings well watered and weed free. Growth in the first year is usually between 10 and 20cm and usually trouble free. Allow them to grow for 3 or 4 years before planting them in a permanent position.