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Growing Bay Laurel

Growing Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel item #12255


Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilus) is also called sweet bay and bay tree. It is a tender woody perennial native to the Mediterranean region with leaves commonly used as a culinary herb. In addition to its use as a cooking herb, bay laurel plants are attractive ornamentals with glossy, dark green, evergreen leaves. In its native habitat, bay laurel grows as a large shrub to tree and can reach heights of 30 to 60 feet. In cold climates, it can be grown as an indoor-outdoor potted plant and pruned to maintain a much shorter height. Bay laurel is dioecious, so individual plants will produce either male flowers or female flowers. Because the leaves are the part used, pollination is not needed.

How To Plant

When growing bay laurel in containers, use a relatively large container at least 12 inches deep to ensure there is enough room for good root growth. Use a high quality, well-drained potting mix.


Bay laurel is relatively slow growing. Avoid overwatering and ensure that the upper part of the media dries out between waterings. Plants may need repotting every 3 to 4 years.

Use bay leaves fresh or dry them for later use. To dry the leaves, place them spread out in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Store dried leaves in a sealed container and they will keep for about a year.

Fertilizer Recommendations

In spring and summer when growth is active, fertilize potted bay laurel plants every 2 to 3 weeks. Reduce watering and do not fertilize in fall and winter when plants are indoors. Use full rates of ALGOplus All Purpose 6-6-6 liquid fertilizer, Osmocote slow-release 14-14-14, or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

Common Problems

Scale, spider mites, and mealybugs sometimes attack plants, especially after plants have been moved indoors for the winter.

Alternative Products

Other tender perennial herbs are ginger, lemongrass, and rosemary.

Product Recommendations

Insect problems can be treated with insecticidal soap or 70% neem oil.

Bay Laurel Facts

Laurel wreaths used as a symbol of status in ancient Greece and a symbol of victory in ancient Rome. A Greek myth tells that the first bay laurel tree was created when the nymph Daphne was changed into a tree to escape pursuit by the god Apollo.



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