The Q&A Archives: Sweet Bay Laurus nobilis

Question: We have a Sweet Bay Laurus nobilis which we puchased this year, we had the tree outside but we bought it inside because of the cold weather. It was coming along very well getting new leaves and in the last week or so the leaves are turing a brown color and the leaves are drying up. Please let us know how we should handle this.

Answer: These trees are often stressed by being moved indoors. They prefer a cool room temperature, say 55 degrees, or even as cool as the mid forties. This allows them to rest during winter. Try to reduce the room temperature (gradual change, do not shock it again) and make sure you are not over or underwatering. Use your finger to check the soil to see if you need to water it. Do not fertilize while it is resting. Keep it out of warm drafts and try to keep the humidity high around the plant. Then check the plant carefully for signs of a scale insect problem. This will usually look like flat discs attached to the foliage and/or stems and may be accompanied by black mold growing on honeydew from the insects. If you find these, treat with horticultural oil or commercially formulated insecticidal soap per the label directions. (You will need to treat more than once.) Be sure to carefully cover all surfaces of the plant from top to bottom when you spray. Good luck with your bay tree!

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