Laurelia - Growing Guide

Growing Laurelia sempervirens

Chilean laurel

This is a large, evergreen, foliage tree with leaves that are very aromatic when crushed. The leaves are leathery and serrated and, in maturity, the branchlets hang down in long trails from the main branches. At Caerhays these are impressive trees nearly 40ft in height.

In maturity the bark on these trees cracks and fissures. The yellow flowers appear in March or April and are fairly insignificant. They are followed by small wind borne fruits.

We propagate this plant from semi-ripe cuttings selected from shoots with an upright rather than a trailing habit.

This tree is often confused with Laureliopsis philippiana (also Chilean) which has an even more pronounced weeping habit and is very similar in appearance both as regards its foliage and appearance. The largest specimen that I have seen of L. philippiana was at Kilmacurragh gardens in Ireland where the tree was freely self-seeding itself in the deep leaf mould around the base of the tree. At Trewithen Gardens a clump of L. philippiana presents visitors with a cascade or impenetrable wall of drooping branches which gives a surreal semi tropical effect.

[Tregothnan, Trewithen and Caerhays and Ireland pictures to be added.]


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