Propagating laurels from cuttings can be challenging, but if you make the cuttings with care and follow the steps outlined, propagating from cuttings is likely the best way. Laurels are notoriously difficult to grow from seeds. Take your time and plant exactly according to instructions. Watch your watering and you'll soon have laurel saplings ready to transplant.
Cut five to six inches off the end of a live branch with a very sharp knife to make a cutting. The cuttings should be trimmed of all leaves except the top three or four. The bottom of the cut should include part of the main stem (the heel). Cut the bottom at an angle. Wrap the stems in damp paper towels and place them in a plastic bag.
Pour potting soil or specialized rooting medium into a gallon pot.
Dip the cutting in water. Mix up a bowl of rooting hormone solution. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone solution. Gently shake off excess fluid.
Press a 6-inch hole into the soil or rooting medium. Pour an inch of sand into the bottom of the hole and push the cutting into the hole with the leaves sticking out. Press soil into the hole and around the cutting.
Water gently around the cutting, just enough to moisten the soil without soaking. Too much water will cause the cutting to rot.
Place the pot in a sheltered place with full sun for at least part of the day. After the cuttings product roots in about six weeks or so, if all danger of frost is past, place the pot outside in a sunny place. Keep moist, but not soggy. It will take a year for the sapling to grown strong enough to transplant into the place where it will grow.
Uncover a root from the laurel you are cloning. Do this in winter when the tree is dormant. Select a 6- to 8-inch section of root the thickness of a pencil. Cut the end closest to the tree. Make the cut straight across. Cut the opposite end away from the tree at an angle. The cuttings must be placed right side up from the way the root grew.
Cut each 6-inch stem into 2-inch lengths. Cut the top straight across and the bottom of each root section at an angle.
Moisten the cuttings, then dust the lower ends with sulfur. Fill gallon pots with soil or specialized rooting medium. Press a hole in the soil with your finger. Fill the bottom of the hole with sand, then place the angled bottom of a cutting in the hole.
Pour rooting medium into the hole, pack soil around the cutting and cover the top with 1 inch of soil. Water regularly so the soil remains moist but not soggy. Place the pot in a sheltered sunny place till spring.
When shoots appear, set the pot outdoors in a sunny place. Keep moist. It will take about a year for the sapling to be large enough to safely plant in its chosen spot. Do not plant outdoors till all danger of frost has passed.