How to Plant and Grow Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) is an evergreen tree or shrub with aromatic, leathery leaves. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is used as a culinary herb in many dishes. Bay laurel can be grown indoors or out, but it does best in full sun and well-drained soil. When planting, be sure to space the plants at least 10 feet apart so they have room to grow.

Botanical Name:Laurus nobilis
Other Names:Sweet Bay, True Laurel, Grecian Laurel, Laurel Tree
Type of Plant:Evergreen shrub or small tree
Size and Appearance:Bay Laurel can grow up to 20 m tall and has large, dark green leaves

Planting Time:

Spring

Blossoming Time:

Late spring to early summer

Propagation:

From seed and cuttings.

Sun:

Full sun to partial shade

Temperature:

No less than 20 degrees F

Soil:

Well-draining rich soil with a Ph of 6.0.

Watering:

Drought-tolerant; water regularly during the first growing season to establish root system

Fertilize:

Fertilize annually with an all-purpose fertilizer.

Uses:

The wood is often used in furniture making and carving; the leaves can be used as a culinary herb

In this article, you will learn how to grow Bay Laurel in your garden and in a plant pot.

How to grow Bay Laurel in your garden

  1. Choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil.
  2. Amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or manure.
  3. Dig a hole for your plant.
  4. Gently remove the plant from its container and loosen any roots that are tightly bound.
  5. Place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.
  6. Backfill the hole with amended soil, tamping it down gently as you go to remove any air pockets.
  7. Water deeply to settle the roots and encourage growth.
  8. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  9. Water regularly during the first growing season to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  10. Fertilize annually with an all-purpose fertilizer or compost tea to keep plants healthy and vigorous.
  11. Prune as needed to shape plants and encourage new growth.
  12. Harvest leaves as needed for cooking or other uses.

In the following, I will cover each step in a little more detail.

1. Choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil. 

The perfect spot for bay laurel would be in an area with full sun and well-drained soil.

Bay laurel prefers soil on the acidic side, so if your soil is alkaline, you will need to amend it. Bay laurel is a drought-tolerant plant, so it does not need a lot of water. 

Bay laurel does not tolerate wet feet, so make sure the area you choose has good drainage.

2. Amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or manure.

The perfect soil for bay laurel should have a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. To achieve the perfect soil, mix equal parts of sand, loam, and organic matter.

3. Dig a hole for your plant.

Use a shovel to dig a hole that is twice the width and depth of the bay laurel’s root ball. 

4. Gently remove the plant from its container and loosen any roots that are tightly bound.

To remove a bay laurel from its current container, gently loosen the root ball with your hands and then carefully lift it out of the pot.

If the plant is rootbound, you may need to use a sharp knife to cut through the roots. 

5. Place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.

Once the plant is out of the pot, place it in the hole you have prepared in your garden bed. 

6. Backfill the hole with amended soil, tamping it down gently as you go to remove any air pockets.

Backfill the hole with soil. If you don’t backfill the hole of your bay laurel plant properly, the plant may not have enough support and could tip over.

7. Water deeply to settle the roots and encourage growth.

After planting, water your bay laurel deeply to encourage roots to grow straight down.

8. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

A bay laurel tree needs 3 to 4 inches of mulch.

The mulch helps the tree retain moisture and protects the roots from extreme temperatures.

9. Water regularly during the first growing season to keep the soil moist but not soggy. 

Bay laurel needs quite a bit of water, especially when it is first planted.

Once it is established, it is somewhat drought tolerant.

10. Fertilize annually with an all-purpose fertilizer or compost tea to keep plants healthy and vigorous.

Bay laurel needs a light fertilizer in the spring.

A balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 is a good choice.

11. Prune as needed to shape plants and encourage new growth.

Bay laurel can be pruned quite heavily without harming the plant.

To prune bay laurel properly, first remove any dead, diseased, or damaged wood. Next, thin out the plant by removing any overcrowded or excess growth. Finally, cut back the remaining branches to the desired shape or size.

12. Harvest leaves as needed for cooking or other uses. 

Fresh leaves have the best flavor, but dried leaves can also be used. Simply strip the leaves from stems and dry them in a cool, dark place for future use.

How to Grow Bay Laurel in a pot

Green bay leaves on wooden background. Laurel leaf. Bay laurel leaves
  1. Choose a pot that is at least 12 inches wide and deep. 
  2. Fill the pot with a high-quality potting mix.
  3. Place the bay laurel plant in the center of the pot and backfill with potting mix.
  4. Water the plant well.
  5. Place the pot in a bright location, but out of direct sunlight.
  6. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
  7. Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.
  8. Prune as needed to shape the plant or remove any damaged or diseased branches.
  9. Bay laurel is an evergreen, so it will need very little care during the winter months.

In the following, I will cover each step in a little more detail.

1. Choose a pot that is at least 12 inches wide and deep. 

Bay laurel does not like to be root bound, so a larger pot is better. 

The perfect pot for bay laurel should be at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep, with drainage holes in the bottom.

Bay laurel requires a lot of water, so the pot should be able to hold a large amount of water. The pot should also be big enough to allow the roots to spread out.

2. Fill the pot with a high-quality potting mix.

The perfect potting mix for Bay Laurel would be a mix of one part sand to two parts loam to three parts peat moss.

This mix would provide good drainage while still retaining moisture and nutrients.

The pH of the mix should be slightly acidic, around 6.0.

3. Place the bay laurel plant in the center of the pot and backfill with potting mix, tamping down gently as you go.

A bay laurel plant will need about 4 to 6 inches of potting mix. This will help the plant to get the nutrients and moisture that it needs.

4. Water the plant well, until water runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

Bay Laurel needs about 1 inch of water per week.

5. Place the pot in a bright location, but out of direct sunlight. 

Bay laurel can tolerate some sun, but too much sun will scorch the leaves.

The amount of sunlight a bay laurel plant needs depends on the climate it is growing in. In general, it needs at least six hours of sunlight per day.

6. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

You should water your bay laurel plant when the top inch of soil is dry.

Give the plant a deep watering, enough to saturate the root zone.

7. Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10. 

The perfect fertilizer for a bay laurel plant is one that is high in nitrogen and phosphorus.

These two nutrients are essential for plant growth and will help the plant to thrive.

8. Prune as needed to shape the plant or remove any damaged or diseased branches.

Bay laurel can be pruned quite heavily without harming the plant.

To prune bay laurel properly, first remove any dead, diseased, or damaged wood. Next, thin out the plant by removing any overcrowded or excess growth.

Finally, cut back the remaining branches to the desired shape or size.

9. Bay laurel is an evergreen, so it will need very little care during the winter months.

Bay Laurel is evergreen, meaning it will keep its greenery in the winter.

It will need very little care during the winter months other than occasional watering if the weather is particularly dry.

How to use Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel has a long history of use in cooking, as a medicinal herb, and in magical and religious rituals. In the kitchen, bay leaves are used to flavor soups, stews, and other dishes. They are also used to make teas and infusions. 

Medicinally, bay leaves have been used to treat a variety of ailments including colds, flu, and stomach problems. They are also said to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. 

Esoterically, bay leaves are associated with protection, healing, and purification. They are also said to promote psychic abilities and prophetic dreams.

Facts about Bay Laurel

  • Bay Laurel is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the Lauraceae family.
  • It is native to the Mediterranean region and is used as a culinary herb.
  • The leaves are used to flavor soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Bay Laurel has also been used medicinally throughout history.

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Written By Vincent

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