Bay Laurel Tree
Known as laurel by the Greeks who wore it as a garland round
their heads. Also known as Bay laurel and Sweet bay.
One of the most versatile herbs, Bay laurel can be grown as a tall evergreen
tree with its glossy foliage or in containers often as standard.
Hardy to around -7C. Another great advantage of a
container bay laurel is that it can be a houseplant in the
The leaves are used in the French herb mixture 'bouquet garni' and
it is often used to flavour stews and meat dishes.
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BAY TREE QUICK GUIDE
Semi-hardy evergreen tree
Site and Soil
Most positions although most vigorous in a sunny site, with lots of room for growth. Soil well drained,
well-dug and composted before planting.
Plant to Harvest Time
The Bay laurel is a pyramid-shaped tree with aromatic, evergreen leaves
and shiny gray bark. It can reach 60 ft (18.3 m) in height in its native
conditions, but generally is much smaller, 3-10 ft (1 to 3 m) tall. The
leaves are elliptic, 3-4 in (8 to 10 cm) long, thick and leathery, and
shiny dark green. In Classical times the bay leaves were used to make
the victor�s �crown of laurels�.
rather insignificant clusters of yellow, slightly fragrant flowers are produced in
spring. In autumn, on the female plants, green berries appear that ripen
to a dark purplish black.
Several cultivars are commonly grown, including: 'Aurea', with
yellowish young foliage; 'Angustifolia' (also called willow-leaf bay),
with narrow lance-shaped leaves; and 'Undulata' with wavy leaf margins.
Where To Grow Bay
Most important for Bay laurel is their position. Especially in cold areas it requires a position sheltered from harsh
wind. Whilst Bay laurel will grow in shade, it is best suited to a sunny
position. It will
will grow on most soil types as long as it is well-drained.
If frost does cause all the leaves to turn brown (liable to happen at
temperatures cooler than -6C), simply cut the plant down to about 15cm
(6 in) above soil level. In spring, new shoots should then appear from
the base of the plant. Young bay plants are at most risk of frost
Where growing bay in a container, it is often best to bring them
indoors during the coldest three months of the year. A light, cool airy
room is best. Don't water very much during winter, let the compost
almost dry out before adding more water.
BAY LAUREL PAGE