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Herbs - CulinaryShrubs

Laurus nobilis
  • RHS AGM
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

bay tree

A large, erect, evergreen shrub with aromatic, narrowly ovate, leathery, glossy leaves up to 10cm long and 2-4cm wide. Dried or fresh leaves are popular flavouring in meal preparation. Flowers are 5mm small, pale greenish-yellow, in dense clusters. Fruits are oval berries 1.5 cm in diameter, glossy black when ripe

Other common names
bay
bay laurel
see morepoet's laurel
Roman laurel
royal bay
sweet bay
true laurel
victor's laurel

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Size
Ultimate height
8–12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
Wider than 8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Yellow Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green Black
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or North–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Lauraceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Laurus are dioecious evergreen trees or large shrubs, with leathery aromatic leaves, and small yellow flowers followed on female plants by black berries

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Mediterranean

How to grow

Cultivation

Grows well in a container. Prefers a well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Follow bay tree cultivation for more advice

Propagation

Propagate by seed, layering or semi-hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Coastal
  • Low Maintenance
  • Hedging and screens
Pruning

No pruning required - Pruning group 1

Pests

May be susceptible to bay sucker, horse chestnut scale, soft scale and tortrix moth

Diseases

May be susceptible to powdery mildews, a leaf spot and honey fungus (rarely)

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