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

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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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 a smaller with a more open habit and larger more rounded and lighter colored leaves. The oval leaves can be 5 to 6 inches in length and are a mild to 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 produced 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. 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. It 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 is pretty obviously not the case. This cultivar has also been noted as more resistant to "some of the major insect problems" that plague Laurus nobilis. 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.  The information provided on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery's library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations in our nursery of crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Laurus 'Saratoga'.