Laurel is an evergreen shrub with deep green, leathery, aromatic leaves that are used in cooking to flavor foods. Laurel grows alone in the Greek countryside but we can plant it in the garden or in a pot on the balcony. It has white or yellow-green flowers that appear from April to May and gives characteristic black fruits, with an oval shape and the size of a small olive. In ancient times, the laurel tree was a sacred tree, dedicated to the god Apollo and symbolized superiority, which is why the winners of sports competitions were crowned with laurel branches. After all, Pythia, the priestess of the oracle of Delphi, chewed laurel leaves and gave her famous oracles.
Laurel is a hardy plant and thrives in all types of soil. Even in dry calcareous soils, laurel shows relatively fast growth. However, we prefer to plant it in cool and fertile soils with good drainage. Laurel is resistant to drought, pollution and salinity, which is why it is suitable both for planting on city streets and for seaside plantings. It adapts to both sunny and shady places while it also withstands very low temperatures. If we plant it in a pot on the balcony, we choose positions with a west or east orientation and we supply potting soil enriched in nutrients to plant it. We water 2-3 times a week during the first year of growing the laurel, while afterwards due to the strong root system it develops, we dilute the waterings. Specifically, in the spring season it is enough to water the laurel once a week and twice a week in the summer months.