Laurus nobilis, also known as bay laurel, is a slow-growing tree with attractive, dark green foliage. Once established, the tree is virtually maintenance free. Laurus nobilis is a great candidate for a topiary, and can be pruned to any size or shape. Bay laurel has an added benefit, as the leaves can be snipped for culinary use. Fresh or dried bay leaves add flavour to a variety of delicious dishes.
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Things you need
- Sturdy container with drainage hole
- Commercial potting soil
- Balanced organic fertiliser
- Garden pruners
- Grow light (optional)
Plant Laurus nobilis in a sturdy container at least 12 inches in diameter. If you would prefer not to transplant in a few years, plant the tree in an 18 inch container. Use a sturdy container with a stable bottom, so the tree will not blow over, and be sure the container has drainage in the bottom. Fill the container with a good quality commercial potting soil.
Water the tree when the top inch of potting soil feels dry to the touch. Check the container daily during hot, dry weather as soil in a container will dry out quickly. The soil should never be allowed to become completely dry.
Fertilise the tree once a month during spring and summer. Use a balanced organic fertiliser applied according to the package directions.
Prune the tree as often as desired, using a pair of clean, sharp garden shears. Trimming the tips of the branches will cause the tree to branch out and form a full, bushy shape. Trim the leaves for kitchen use, as needed.
Bring Laurus nobilis indoors when the weather turns chilly in autumn. Place the tree in bright light, but keep it in a cool room away from warm windows or heat vents. Use a grow light if available light is low.
Tips and warnings
- To dry bay leaves, simply place the leaves in a single layer on a paper towel. Cover the leaves with another paper towel and place the leaves in a dry, well-ventilated room, until the leaves are completely dry. To keep the leaves flat, place a book or another weight on top of them.
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