Bay Leaf - Laurus nobilis
Growing and Using Herbs

How to Grow a Bay Tree - Sweet Bay, Bay Laurel
 - Herbs

Hardy evergreen shrub
To 7.5m tall
Flowers: June - August
Full sun or semi-shade
Readily trimmed to size and shape, good in containers, formal or relaxed

Herbs:   Basil  |  Chives  |  Mint  |  Oregano  |  Parsley  |  Rosemary  |  Sage  |  Thyme  |  All

Bay is best bought as small plants, they generally grow well in this country, you can grow them in containers and cut to various shapes though mine is in the grown so I don't have another job to water it. If you buy a very small plant and want to grow it in the ground, grow it on to a larger size first in a 2 or 3L pot before putting in the soil. Like other shrubs, don't pick leaves for cooking for a couple of years until it reaches such a size that you aren't damaging it too much by doing so.

A somewhat hardy shrub that can grow large albeit very slowly. You will rarely see a large bay tree in the UK as they are hardy down to about -5C and will often have been killed off or at least damaged by a hard frost before they get very large. Exposure to cold winds is very damaging, you can grow them very well in the north with suitable shelter or lose them in the south without it. Can be grown in large containers, often shaped into columns or standard balls in those cases, they are less hardy in containers as the roots are more vulnerable to frosts. Best grown in the soil in a sunny or semi-sunny sheltered position. A good aupright architectural plant. Can be grown as a hedge, though I wouldn't recommend it unless you live somewhere that rarely if ever has frosts and the whole hedge is sheltered, there is too much danger of a one-off colder than normal frost that could kill many of the established plants.

When the plant gets big you can take off leaves as needed. The leaves develop a deeper flavour when dried ,fresh leaves are quite mild, so when I prune any unruly branches off, I tie them together and hang them in the kitchen for a month or so until fully dry then strip the leaves and store them in plastic bags ready for use. You should have plenty to use and plenty to give away.

Bay leaves are a very useful herb that can be used in many ways, use them in sauces and stews where they add a depth and richness of flavour without specifically tasting of bay, they are really invaluable in this regard and are a mainstay herb. The leaves themselves are usually used whole and removed before serving,  Bay leaves are quite stiff and abrasive if ingested so either use whole in cooking and remove before serving or finely grind to a powder first.


Bay seeds and plants to buy

Bay Tree Spiral

Bay Tree Spiral

£ 69.99
Kitchen Bay Bush

Kitchen Bay Bush

£ 24.99
Laurus nobilis

Laurus nobilis

£ 44.99
Laurus nobilis (Standard)

Laurus nobilis (Standard)

£ 99
Standard Bay Tree

Standard Bay Tree

£ 29.99



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