Growing bay leaf, also known as laurel

Bay leaf

Bay leaf smells wonderful and it is able to generate an exotic and unforgettable mood. In Italy, for example, bay leaf is often used to grow hedges. You can see it in parks, gardens and other public spaces. Laurel or bay leaf is not particularly demanding even if you grow it in our climate. It contains plenty of essential oils, and because of that, it is hardly attacked by pests. Sometimes Parthenolecanium can attack it but that is rather rare. So, how to grow bay leaf properly and how to use it?

Soil and watering

A regular substrate designed for indoor plants should be enough. You should fertilize from the end of February until the end of September – once every 14 days. Use regular fertilizers designed for indoor plants. Watering must be regular, and if your plant is exposed to direct sunlight, you need to water every day but make sure that water is not sitting around in puddles. You can tell that bay leaf needs water when young shoots start to bend down. If you see that do not wait and water.

Bay leaf
Photo: Pixabay

Transferring bay leaf outside and winterizing at the end of summer

From spring to autumn, you can transfer bay leaf outdoors, but keep in mind that it is not very resistant to low temperatures. Young plants should not be exposed to temperatures around 0 °C but older ones can withstand temperatures down to -2 °C. Before the real winter comes, move it to a cool room where the temperature ranges from 3 to 18 °C. As with any winterized plant, limit watering.

Bay leaf trimming

We are sure you have seen beautiful bay leaf trees with a beautifully shaped crowns and tall trunks. To achieve a nice shape you need to clip off lower leaves and shoots, and trim the tree or bush regularly. Ideally, it should be trimmed twice a year and you should also provide support to make sure that the trunk grows straight.

Bay leaf
Photo: Pixabay

Bay leaf drying

Two-year-old leaves should be harvested. Dry them slowly in a shade to preserve nice green colour. Do not expose them to the sun because they turn brown.

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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