It is already beginning to flourish in many places on the Mediterranean coast. The durillo (also known as laurentino, wild laurel or marfull) comforts us, on these cold winter days, with its beautiful white flowers. A compelling reason to find a place for it in your garden, but there are many others that I will now tell you about.
The Viburnun tinus is a native plant of the Iberian Peninsula. It grows wild in our mountains, sharing the environment equally with holm oaks, Kermes oaks, mastic or strawberry trees. Although it will not go unnoticed.
The Laurustinus is a bush of proven toughness (hence in part its name), which withstands cold and heat, sun or shade with stoicism, remaining evergreen despite the seasonal change.
But, in addition, it usually blooms in winter , when few dare to fight the cold.
It will show its pink button heads first, which will later give rise to the small flowers. The result will be beautiful white corsages , which could adorn the most demanding bride.
Viburnum tinus is a tall bush . Under the right conditions, it manages to reach more than three meters in height. If you wish, you can even give it the size of a tree.
Its leaves are leathery, oval and pointed and bright green. They could be confused with those of the laurel (hence the name of wild laurel), if it were not for the fact that they arise in pairs on the stem, opposite one with respect to the other.
The prized flowers have five white petals and, although tiny, also some more than evident stamens. They are grouped together forming showy terminal corymbs, which continue on the plant for a few weeks.
You have to watch for it in case of pruning, it is better to leave the work for after flowering.
During the summer the fruits appear , which will also remain for a long time adorning its branches. They are small dark blue drupes with a metallic sheen, attractive to birds, but toxic to us. Watch out!
Uses in gardening
The laurentino, known in my land as marfull , can be easily grown both in the garden and in a pot , but always outdoors.
However, it reaches its full potential when installed in parks and gardens (better as an isolated shrub) . Both meticulous orderly forms and a more informal air suit him well.
It is also possible to use it as a medium or high hedge , because once it is established it can be cut well.
Its use as a flowering tree is another tempting possibility. Surely in a small plot or planted in alignment it acquires all the prominence.
The durillo is a rustic plant , as has already been pointed out, and little demanding in attention. It accepts both cultivation in the sun and in partial shade. It tolerates heat well and to some extent cold.
Marfull or Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus) about to bloom
As for the soil , it is not very demanding either; preferring, yes, a good drainage in it. Some sand in the mix will always come in handy with this species, to prevent its roots from flooding.
Therefore, watering should be moderate. It tolerates drought better than excess water . In winter, planted in the garden, it will hardly be needed.
For strong pruning , it is convenient to wait until the end of flowering. You can make small touch-ups as long as you do not act on the buds in formation.
Plagues and diseases
Again, appealing to its name, it must be said that the durillo is not used to being attacked by insects, fungi or other parasites.
But, as you well know, prevention is best . If you can’t move the plant to a sunnier location, at least improve the aeration inside it by pruning. You will considerably reduce the risk of humidity.
If instead the annoying aphid appears , the easiest option will be to apply potassium soap or Neem oil to eliminate it.
How to play it
If you are satisfied with your wild laurel, you can get an identical specimen through vegetative propagation . It is not difficult at all.
Take advantage of the pruning branches to make semi-woody or woody cuttings . Discard those that have not yet lignified.
The best time will be in spring or autumn for the former and at the end of autumn for the latter.
You have a whole post dedicated to cuttings . Do not miss it.
You can also use the layering technique . You just have to bury some of its lower branches and in a year it will have taken root. It will be then when you can separate it from the mother plant. Until now you will have to be patient.
Sowing its seeds is another story. Sexual reproduction will never ensure us similar conditions and not even adequate for our purposes. In addition, in the case of durillo, it requires cold stratification (rest in the refrigerator) for several months.
As you can see, the Viburnum tinus is a useful species, resistant and with multiple possibilities for your garden, which will also give a touch of color in each of the seasons.
It presents good arguments in its favor, don’t you think? Few can resist its flowers, its fruits and its glossy evergreen leaves.