Bay Tree

Laurus nobilis

Sweet Bay, Bay Laurel, True Laurel, Grecian Laurel, Laurel Tree, Laurel, Lourier (Afr.)

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Bay trees are versatile evergreen trees that can be grown in full sun as well as shade. They make great container plants and can also be pruned into hedges. Bay leaves are dark green, very aromatic and can be used in various Mediterranean dishes. Bay trees can also be turned into topiaries and shaped into interesting shapes, and some have ornately plaited or spirally trained stems.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Leaves can be harvested throughout the year. The leaves should be dried before use, as fresh bay leaves are bitter. Dry for 48-72 hours.

Propagation

Seed

Collect seeds in autumn, remove the fleshy outer shell and sow as soon as possible. Soak bought seeds in warm water for 24 hours. Sow seeds 2.5 cm deep.

Cuttings

Take 8cm stem cuttings in early summer/autumn. Remove upper and lower leaves and dip root end in hormone cutting mix. Plant in two parts sand, one part peat moss. Be patient - it will root in 9 months.

Layering

Air layering takes longer than propagation from cuttings or seedlings/seeds.

Special features

Crop rotation

Bay Trees are medium feeders and if grown in a pot, should be repotted every two years.

Pot plant

Bay trees make great container trees and thrive if watered regularly and sheltered.

Repels harmful insects

Bay leaves are a weevil deterrent. Place some leaves in the cabinet where you keep your flour and other grains to repel bugs.

Special features

Origin

Mediterranean

Natural climate

Temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Wet

Soil type

Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Notes

Culinary, medicinal, insect repellant

Personality

Family

Lauraceae

Flower colour

Cream, White

Scent

Mild

Problems

Scale, leaf spots, yellow leaves, and peeling bark.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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