How to Grow Bay Laurel - Laurus Nobilis

bay laurel laurus nobilis 1Bay Laurel (Laurus Nobilis) is a tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves. It can grow even up to 3-4m high and can be quite impressive tree in any garden.

It is an evergreen plant with very aromatic, dark green leaves often used in Mediterranean cuisine fresh or dried.

Laurel can be grown in the backyard garden on permanent location or in suitable flower pot. It grows quickly (for tree), so if you are growing it in the pot, be prepared to change pots every few years.

Or simply take a good saw and remove overgrown central trunk - laurel will soon start to grow again. This can be done even if you have laurel growing in the soil - photo on the left - central trunk removed, many new plants starting to grow.

Laurel prefers well drained, sunny positions. Water it regularly, but not with much water. Actually, if you have it on the lawn, just water the grass and let laurel grow the way it wants :)

Also, it doesn't require any special soil, but if you can, mix half cactus soil with half good flower soil. Or add some sand to flower soil.

Fertilization is not necessary if it is grown in soil, as part of maintained lawn. If you grow it in the pot, add some general fertilizer in spring and summer - preferably some slow release type or organic fertilizer.

Note: Laurel doesn't like cold much. It can survive winters with temperatures down to -5 to -10°C (23 to 14°F). Below that it requires protection (with no guarantees that it will survive) or it should be moved inside (flower pots).

Laurel can be grown as an ornamental tree, as a herb plant or for hedging. It is one of the fastest growing evergreen trees/shrubs. Just be sure to prune using strong secateurs as a normal hedge trimmer will damage the leaves - if cut leaves are OK with you, then use hedge trimmer.

Also, laurel contains compounds like cyanolipids - when shredding leaves, cyanide and other not so healthy compounds can be released (they smell like almonds). If the leaves are out in the open, there is no danger of any kind, but in closed space, with no ventilation, they can be dangerous to human health.

Culinary use: Laurel leaf is often used in Mediterranean cuisine for fish and meat stews, soups, dips etc. Laurel leaf can be used fresh or dried - personally I prefer fresh. Note that laurel is strong herb and some people are sensitive to its taste and aroma.