San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for JULY

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Laurus 'Saratoga'
Laurus 'Saratoga' - Saratoga Laurel

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Laurus 'Saratoga'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Lauraceae (Laurels)
Origin: Mediterranean (Europe)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pale Yellow
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Parentage: (Laurus nobilis x L. azorica?)
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 15-25 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Laurus 'Saratoga' (Saratoga Laurel) - An evergreen large shrub to 25 to 30 feet tall by nearly an equal width. This vigorous plant has the attributes of bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) but is smaller with a more open habit and has larger more rounded and lighter colored leaves. The oval leaves can be 5 to 6 inches in length and are a olive green color on the upper surface and lighter below with the new growth and leaf petioles tinged red. The small pale-yellow flowers are produced in abundance from late winter through early spring and in mass are quite showy. This selection is a male tree and produces no fruit.

Plant in full sun, to light shade in a well-drained soil and irrigate little to occasionally once established though more frequent irrigation will produce a faster growing more luxurious growth. It is not as hardy as Laurus nobilis but will tolerate short duration temperatures to 18F (as we experienced in 1990) and is reliably hardy above 20F. Like bay laurel the leaves can be used for their culinary value. Laurus 'Saratoga' makes a great dense hedge or can be trained into a multi low-branched or single-stemmed small tree and can also be used as a large container specimen or even a topiary.

The plant was discovered in the 1950s by Frank Serpa in Fremont, California who thought it resulted as a cross between the bay laurel, Laurus nobilis, a plant native to Asia minor and naturalized throughout the Mediterranean, and Laurus azorica (L. canariensis) a tree from the Canary and Azores islands. Mr Serpa reasoned that an initial hybrid between these two species in his yard had backcrossed with Laurus azorica to produce the plant he finally selected and which the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation introduced and named in 1978.

The resulting plant so resembles Laurus azorica that some think that this plant may actually be this latter species and not a hybrid at all. Some report that this plant was originally thought to be a hybrid between Umbellularia californica and Laurus nobilis, but we have never found this report in the information that the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation released regarding this plant, and this pretty obviously is not the case. This cultivar has also been noted as more resistant to "some of the major insect problems" that plague Laurus nobilis since Laurel psyllid and soft scale are more often occasionally seen on Laurus nobilis. We originally grew this tree starting in 1993 but discontinued production in 1996 due to slow sales - we had a number of customers request we grow it again and put this great plant back into production in 2010 but discontinued it again in 2016. 

This information about Laurus 'Saratoga' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.