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A picture of a Bay


Laurus nobilis

Also known as

Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay, Bay Tree, Poet's Laurel, Roman Laurel, Royal Bay, True Laurel, Victor's Laurel, Grecian Laurel, Bay-Leaf Laurel, Bay tree, Sweet bay laurel, Royal laurel

Laurus nobilis flowers by User:Tintazul (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








50 to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Bay

A green Laurus nobilis plant in a garden
A photo of Bay
A photo of Bay
A photo of Bay
A photo of Bay

Bay Overview

Laurus nobilis is an evergreen shrub or tree species from the Lauraceae family. Its commonly known by the names Bay, Bay Tree, Bay Laurel and Laurel Tree, amongst others. Bay Trees are versatile evergreen trees that can be grown in full sun as well as shade. They make great container plants and can also be pruned into hedges. Bay leaves are dark green, very aromatic and can be used in various Mediterranean dishes. Bay Trees can also be turned into topiaries and shaped into interesting shapes, and some have ornately plaited or spirally trained stems. Flowers are small and popular with insects, coloured pale yellow-green, the are produced in dense clusters. Flowers lead onto oval fruits which ripen to black. This species has earnt a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit. It is also part of the RHS “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!

Common problems with Bay

Scale, leaf spots, yellow leaves, and peeling bark.

How to harvest Bay

Leaves can be harvested throughout the year. The leaves should be dried before use, as fresh bay leaves are bitter. Dry for 48-72 hours.

How to propagate Bay


Collect seeds in autumn, remove the fleshy outer shell and sow as soon as possible. Soak bought seeds in warm water for 24 hours. Sow seeds 2.5 cm deep.


Take 8cm stem cuttings in early summer/autumn. Remove upper and lower leaves and dip root end in hormone cutting mix. Plant in two parts sand, one part peat moss. Be patient - it will root in 9 months.


Air layering takes longer than propagation from cuttings or seedlings/seeds.


Division in spring.

Special features of Bay

Crop rotation

Bay Trees are medium feeders and if grown in a pot, should be repotted every two years.

Pot plant

Bay trees make great container trees and thrive if watered regularly and sheltered.

Repels harmful insects

Bay leaves are a weevil deterrent. Place some leaves in the cabinet where you keep your flour and other grains to repel bugs.

Attractive leaves

Other uses of Bay

Culinary, medicinal, insect repellant



insect repellant

Summer flowering garden shrubs

These summer flowering shrubs are perfect additions to a garden to provide pollinators with habitat, shelter and food.

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Plants for Summer Cuttings

Some of the many plants which you can take semi-ripe cuttings from in summer.

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