How to Grow Bay Laurel | Care and Growing Bay Leaf Laurel

Learn how to grow bay leaf laurel, it is a Mediterranean herb famous for its culinary uses. Growing bay leaf laurel requires a basic knowledge of its requirements and growing conditions.

Among the best known and most used herbs, one is bay. It has diverse uses, from simple ornamental plant in a garden to a culinary herb on a small balcony kitchen garden. Leaves of this small tree are aromatic and emit intense scent that complements most of the Mediterranean to grow bay laurel tree

USDA Zones — 8 – 11

Propagation Method — Seeds, cutting

Difficulty — Moderate

Other Names — Laurus nobilis (Scientific name), bay laurel, sweet bay, bay tree, true laurel, Grecian laurel, laurel tree

Soil pH — 6 – 8

There are basically 6 plants that are referred as bay leaf:

This article is dedicated to bay laurel, which is a Mediterranean herb.

Bay Leaf Laurel and History

For the Greeks and Romans bay was a sacred plant and dedicated to the god Apollo.

Greeks used to plant the laurel in the vicinity of the temples and burns the foliage during the rites and to the Romans it was a symbol of glory.

In fact, crowns were created with twigs of this plant to crown the kings, emperors and the victorious athletes.

Planting Bay Leaf

To plant it in garden, dig a hole twice the size of the plant’s root ball. Incorporate a good amount of organic fertilizer in the planting hole.

Carefully break the root ball of plant and cut any damaged or outgrown roots and insert the plant in planting hole. Cover with soil and water deeply.


Regular watering is required only when plant is young, if you’re growing bay leaves plant on the ground. However, you must check the plant once in a while to see if the surface is dry, especially during the spring and summer. From fall and through the winter, reduce watering.

Beware that excess water can kill laurel tree.

Soil for Growing Bay Leaf Laurel

Laurel does not have excessive demands on the soil, it grows in poor soil too except if it is heavy and clay rich and causes waterlogging. Like many other plants it prefers well draining soil.


Apply liquid fertilizer every 15 days from spring to summer. Never fertilize your bay leaf plant in winter.

As it is a plant that is grown primarily for its aromatic leaves it is recommended to use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, which favors growth of lush green foliage. Ensure the fertilizer you use contains other nutrients like phosphorus and potassium, fertilizer also have trace elements such as magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum for a proper and balanced growth.


In order to have a stately plant you should prune it every year. 

Always prune off very dense, broken and dead branches as they hinders the ventilation and air flow.

The most propitious time to perform the pruning task is before the vegetative growth when the weather start to warm in spring.

Growing Bay Leaf in Potshow to grow bay laurel in pot

Laurel bay leaf is actually a tree but it grows well in containers. Choose a large pot of at least 12 inches deep and wide. Ensure good drainage and then plant the bay leaf plant at the same depth as it was in the previous pot, fill the pot with loamy potting soil and compost.


Repot your plant in every two – three years, bay leaf is a plant that do not develops quickly in pots.

Repotting should be done in the spring using a good fertile soil that remains loamy as the plant doesn’t like stagnant water and good drainage is important.


The leaves can be harvested all year round and fruits are harvested in the fall, when they are ripe.

The leaves can be used fresh or you can preserve them by air drying.

Air dry bay leaf in shade for three – four days and once dried keep the leaves in air tight jar. Dried leaves last for about one year. After this, they lose much of their flavor.

The berries are also dried in the oven at low temperature and then preserved in jars, they taste much stronger and robust than leaves.

 Pests and Diseases

Bay laurel tree is strongly resistant to pests and diseases. Most common problems caused to bay laurel are due to overwatering, lack of sunlight or excessive cold. Scales, aphids and mites can also get attracted towards weak plant, which should be treated immediately using organic pesticide.




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