Bay Laurel

Bay laurel hedge

Bay Leaves – Laurus nobilis

Laurus nobilis

Bay laurel is also known as Sweet Bay, Grecian Bay, True Laurel or the Bay Tree.

This plant is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves. It is native to the Mediterranean region. It is most commonly used for topiary standards but also makes an excellent hedging plant. The leaves are aromatic, narrowly ovate, and leathery. They are useful in cooking. Small pale green and yellow flowers form in dense clusters in the spring. Glossy black oval-shaped fruit comes in the Autumn.

Bay laurel, along with Cherry laurel, are used in the construction of the laurel wreath, a symbol of the highest status in ancient Greece.

Bay Laurel Growing Advice


Full sun or partial shade


North, East, South, West.



Bay laurel will grow best in any well drained soil.


Grows very well in a container. During the growing season, keep well-watered and use a slow-release fertiliser. Best kept in a sheltered spot.

To grow a bay tree in a container use a soil-based compost but add extra grit to improve the drainage and stability. Controlled-release fertiliser granules can be added to the compost, or liquid feed every two weeks from mid-spring to late summer.

As the plant grows it will need to be repotted. Every two years in spring is good. Remember though that compost breaks down so if you don’t change the size of the pot it is stil la good idea to refresh the compost.

Growth Rate



Bay can tolerate temperatures down to -5°C. The foliage can be damaged by frost and cold winds so protect the plants using a fleece or take them indoors when temperatures get cold.

Bay Laurel Care Advice


To maintain a balanced shape a bay hedge will need to be trimmed lightly twice during the summer months. Use a pair of secateurs or hand shears for the best results.


Powdery mildew and leaf spot.


Bay sucker, horse chestnut scale, soft scale, and tortrix moth can all cause problems.