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Portuguese bay laurel the plant of the week

Bay laurel

By Tony Murrell

North Island

Potting up and potting out:

This is a great time of the year to be potting up or on plants in containers. Large plants should be a little easier to prize out of pots for root pruning dues to moisture content in the soil. You can re pot back into the same container; hopefully you planted into straight-sided pots. Curved shaped containers makes it really difficult to remove established plants. Spray the entire plant prior to departure from the pot with “Seasol” to reduce transplant shock. Trim plant roots to enable you to add more potting mix and slow release fertiliser. Always leave room at the top of the pot for watering and if the soil in the pot has completely dried out prior to removal, use “Saturaid” to re wet the soil and help loosen the plant.

South Island

I realise that peat is considered to be an environmental disaster because it is not a renewable resource but I cannot think of anything better to add to citrus tress or other plants that prefer a more acidic soil. If you have loads of hard clay at home the addition of peat at time of planting along with compost and Gypsum can make the world of difference. Oh and you can also re pot plants and root prune your hedging at this time of the year successfully.

Plant of the week

Prunus lusitanica or Portuguese bay laurel.

This is a great plant to use for an informal or formal hedge, beautiful white blossoms and red berries make this an interesting choice for the garden; brilliant for topiary too.

The plant likes well-drained soil and I would recommend you feed with slow release fertiliser and compost every spring. The other great thing about this plant is that if you don’t prune it, it will still look great. Traditionally the Prunus lucitanica gets to about 3.0 metres high and about 2.0 metres wide if left to grow.

Garden design tip of the week

Rust paint from Porters Paints. Looking for something a little different to paint your shed, walls or fences, check out rust paint from porters paints.

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