Bay Trees: The Full Care and Growing Guide

The Bay Trees are plants native to the Mediterranean, and although they can grow to become a full-on tree (as the name suggests), they are often kept smaller due to the pruning and confining that happens to them.

The bay tree is one of the well known evergreen shrubs, It is suitable for growing in the ground as well as the in containers, the bay trees’ leaves are commonly used in cooking as it give a fragrant flavor to some dishes.

It’s Botonical name is Laurus nobilis but it has some other common names like: sweet bay and bay laurel.

 Bay Trees potted in container

The Bay trees are known for being a very slow grower, which is why they are grown as an ornamental and are very suitable for growing in a pot. The bay tree’s attractive foliage can easily be pruned and sheared into beautiful topiary shapes.

The Bay trees have small, yellow flowers in the spring, that develop into purple berries during the fall. 

How to Grow Bay Trees

The Bay trees are very versatile plants that have the ability to grow both indoors and out. They’re great for interior décor but could also use some summer sun. With the right amount of sun, the leaves will give you the best flavors.

Bay Trees rooted in pot

The leaves can be used in sauces, soups, stews, and you can use it whenever you want an exotic, earthly flavor. 

These plants produce a very strong, beautiful scent. It can be used in medicine, and as an insect repellent.


The bay trees don’t care much about the type of soil it sits in. But, a well-drained soil is good for them. Plant them as deep as they were previously planted.

Watering The Bay Trees

The roots of this tree are shallow and may need frequent watering when the season is dry. It’s advised to be very cautious when weeding or cultivating around its base.

Bay Trees watered

Although you should water it frequently, it is also important to let the soil dry out before you water it again so the roots don’t end up rotting.

It’s important not to let the soil dry out for long periods of time, even if the tree starts dropping a few leaves here and there.


If you grow your tree indoors, make sure you give it access to light by putting it near a sunny window during the winter.

You should also be sure it isn’t exposed to drafts and heat from appliances. If the weather is too hot in your area, then a good afternoon shade is perfect for this plant.

Temperature and Humidity 

The Bay trees are only hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10. they should be brought inside in cooler areas during the winter, but make sure you give them some humidity so they don’t die out.

Two shaped Bay Trees

If you notice them starting to drop a few leaves, use those in cooking and start regularly misting the plant water.


Because the Bay tree grows very slowly, it doesn’t need much food. All it needs is some supplemental fertilizer that’s fed to grown Bay trees that are grown in containers only. They should be fed during the spring and mid-summer.

Fish emulsion and kelp are great fertilizer options for this plant. They help refresh the top soil during spring while not hurting the roots.

How to Care for Bay Tree


This tree is very easy to start from the seeds, which is why that’s how it is most likely grown.

propagate Bay Trees

You can easily do this yourself, but since it’s a slow grower, you’re going to have to wait at least 6 months for the seeds to germinate.


The bay trees can grow up to 60 feet tall if not pruned. Of course, they won’t get anywhere near that with frequent pruning, and this includes both outdoors and container-grown Bay trees.

If you want to be able to easily transport your tree around, make sure you keep it under 6 feet tall, 7 maximum.

This plant is most often kept pruned, both because it keeps its length in check, and because it looks better as an ornamental tree.

pruning Bay Trees

You can prune it during the spring for maximum benefit, as the new growth is just starting.

There is really no rule to how much you can prune. Prune as little or as much as you like, to get the length you like.


Once the tree is a few feet tall, it is time you started harvesting its leaves, and the pruned leaves can be used as well.

Might come as a surprise, but even the dry leaves that fall off the tree are still usable and still give out a nice, strong fragrant.

Pests & Problems

This plant is one of the safest plants out there from pests. In fact, it is often used to deter pests from other plants near it.

Bay Trees problems

The only problem this plant may face is scale since there are some moths that lay their eggs between two leaves and fuse them together with the cottony fluff.

Make sure you gently peel off any two plants that seem to be stuck together, and don’t forget to remove the eggs.

When the Bay tree is hit by a light frost, it could mean that the leaves will turn brown and dry out.

Nothing to worry about though, for the plants heals on its own during the following spring.

If you see any signs of die-back in the spring, you will have to prune the stems down to below the damage so the new growth can have space to fill in.

Bay Trees with seed


The Bay tree is a very beautiful tree that can be grown both inside and out. It has many usages and is also a very fragrant and beautiful tree to look at.

We hope you’ve learned everything you’ve been looking for in this article, and wish you the best of luck growing and caring for the beautiful Bay trees.