Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 20 replies

I have had two bay trees for many months now and recently potted both of them because they looked like they were struggling. I repotted potted them with John innes no.2 and found that there was a newt at the bottom of one of the bays which I think is dying! I have got eracacious plafound and sea quest iron feed, and the leaves are stil going brown! Can the bay be saved? What might be causing it, could it be the newt?!

any suggestion welcome.

thank you


sounds bad for the bay. newts eat slugs, they're on your side. Just looking for a damp place to hide between meals.

Bays don't need ericaceous compost and a sick plant doesn't need a lot of feeding. They take a bit of a bashing some winters and it's not too late for recovery. Are you getting any new growth at all?

i'd put it somewhere out of any extreme weather - hot sun, heavy rain, strong wind. Don't let it dry out but it won't want to be wet. speak to it kindly and see what happens


ThunderB, you are not very far north, I am in Norfolk and have lost several Bays over the last few years, partly because of the cold, partly there is some fungas/disease that is attacking Bays so I have been told. My neighbours thought that they had lost a big Bay, but eventually it revived.

I agree with nutcutlet, they do not need ericaaceous compost, in fact that may be stressing it. Give it some time and it may recover.

John Harding

A newt in the container would suggest it's too wet (newts like water) Bays don't like to be wet! They also suffer from the cold weather, particularly don't like frost. Artjak is right, conditions during past winter have been bad for bays and Ericacious is definitely wrong compost.

Agreed, wrong compost. Draining is vital, as has been pointed out and, having watched my brother's succumb to cold winters, I kept mine in a pot. That's a huge pot by now, with feet under it so it drains better and I bring it to the back door in winter. Down south I can do that but I'd wrap it up in winter to keep it warm if I lived in colder climes.Other than the odd brown leaf here n there it's been fine for 7 years or so.


So less water!


I have attached two photos of the dying bay, any comments welcome.

Do bays need ericacious food/compost at all?

What is the best/good compost an plant food for them? Also should I bputting some gravel or bark into the compost to help drainage?

And finally should the potsbee raised off the lawn?

As you can probably tell I'm a complete beginner at gardening!




Ben, the pics haven't worked - can you click on the little tree in the toolbar above where you post - you'll find instructions there


No pics 

Not ericaceous compost, something loam based with extra grit. It won't need a lot of feeding. I wouldn't stand it on the lawn, the lawn will get a bald patch and ants like to move up into pots standing directly on the ground


And no - they don't need ericaceous anything.  

Mine is potted in John Innes No 3 with some added grit.  And yes,  raise the pot up on feet so it drains well.  

Pots are better on paving rather than on the lawn - pots on the lawn will damage the grass. 

In the winter move the bay into the most sheltered corner where it still gets some sun - keep the pot raised up on feet and wrap it (the pot) in some bubble wrap.

Yeah, looks drowned to me. Follow instructions above for re-potting. Also, give it a good prune - get rid of the dead/dying bits. Save it wasting energy on stuff that's had it anyway. Have to say, I found the idea that the newt was somehow responsible HILARIOUS! Set me off with all sorts of comedy mental ramblings about just what it might be getting up to in there - it started with excreting alien-style toxic slime thru its skin and now it's like a little cartoon newt plant assassin in my brain, complete with raincoat, fake moustache and bottle of roundup spray. And sinister Mutley laugh. See what you've done to me? That's the trouble with being a new gardener tho - seems like all sorts of things everybody knows except you! Much seems like common sense once someone sez it, but now and again u come across something that's just plain weird. Sinister newts start to seem entirely plausible...



I think you have inspired me to re-plant my Bay.



auntieb- you've taken that too far...

Yes Ben- over watering does way more harm than anything else where plants are concerned - unless they're bog plants obviously! A good tip to remember is - think about where plants originate and what their native habitat is like. 

I hope you can rescue it. A prune and re pot as auntieb says and I'm sure it'll recover . Good luck  


I would repot and stand the pots on gravel if possible ,it would help with drainage,agree with all other comments about type of compost and too much water .

Thunder Ben,


Is the newt female? If so, perhaps it's offspring are damaging your roots? I believe they had the same problem at the Eden project - newts and bay trees!


Jaga the wise


Jaga, you'll have to explain how a young newt can damage bay tree roots.

This year's offspring still have external gills and are swimming about in water.

Sign up or log in to post a reply