Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bay Laurel, Bay Tree, Sweet Bay, Bay Leaf, Bayleaf
Laurus nobilis

Family: Lauraceae (law-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Laurus (law-russ) (Info)
Species: nobilis (NO-bil-iss) (Info)

14 vendors have this plant for sale.

63 members have or want this plant for trade.


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From hardwood heel cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

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There are a total of 38 photos.
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18 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral annhelen On Dec 8, 2014, annhelen from Townsend, GA wrote:

I do not have one of these Laurus nobilis, but we have native bay trees in abundance; the ''Sweet Bay", Red Bay, and Loblolly Bay. Although most have some fragrance to their leaves, and I suspect must be relatives of the European Laurel Bay, only the Red Bay has been used as a seasoning, like Laurus nobilis. The Red Bay has been attacked by beetle invasion, but most have come through unscathed. Wish someone would do an article on the native bays that also have uses, medicinal and culinary. A good link to the ambrosia beetle infestation of the Red Bay is:

Positive saya On Feb 6, 2014, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grow it also in my garden. In harsh winters like in 2012 with temps below - 15C and nights down to - 20C for weeks it dies completely down. But soon as the sun warms up the soil it sprouts again. It grows fast but the bush is easy to keep in shape. Could not do without it for culinary use.

Positive wtliftr On Jun 9, 2013, wtliftr from Wilson's Mills, NC wrote:

we have one on our farm in Wilson's Mills, NC that I know has been there since at least 1980. I collected leaves from it for a science project that year. It's still in the same spot, in 2013. It's in bloom right now (June 9).

Positive cubkat On Jan 19, 2013, cubkat from Florence, AL wrote:

I have had a Bay wherever we have lived so I wanted to have one here. It is a bit of trouble if we have very very cold nights but that is not often, so it is worth the trouble to cover it. It's about 2 1/2 feet tall. Died back to the ground the first year I had it but not since then. I planted it in a protected area that gets really good sun year round.

Positive Mizzgnomer On Jun 9, 2012, Mizzgnomer from Tryon, NC wrote:

I have three young Sweet bays all so far are indoor trees they are all approximately 3 years old. They are in my kitchen window. I bought them all from the same sourse the new arrivals have pale green leaves just like my original one did, the original one's leaves have turned a beautiful dark green with the easternish exposure, I expect the new arrivals will soon darken as well in a few months. I've had my original bay for about two years. Usually plants/trees tremble when I buy them I have two brown thrumbs LOL. But my original bay tree has been triving! They see to be very hardy. I've read as much as I could find about them online. I use the leaves both fresh and dried I have a food dehyrdator and when I do pruning I dry those leaves and they keep holding flavor for at least a year or more. The leaves seem a bit harder to dehydrate than other herbs but it's probably the nature of the leaves I'm wondering about drying them at a higher temp but I'm worried about losing the flavor.

What I've had actually no luck at finding out is at what age they bloom. Does anyone know? I'm hoping that I have at least one female and a male. I would like to be ablte to have seedlings eventually.

Thanks in advance for any information on when they start to bloom.

Positive elgordo75 On May 26, 2012, elgordo75 from Surrey
Canada wrote:

I've grown this plant for three years in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. I started off with a 4-inch and now it's in a three gallon. I brought it in for the entire first winter, about half the second and left it outside (in a pot) throughout this past winter. There wasn't a trace of damage on it, and now it's growing like a weed. My wife uses it regularly in cooking. It's a great culinary and aesthetic shrub.

Positive dblick On Mar 16, 2011, dblick from Denver, CO wrote:

When we lived in Dana Point, California we had the most beautiful little tree that we planted in the back yard. The tree did well in that area though slow growing at first. We saved some of the leaves when we moved away. 12 years later the leaves still contain the wonderful scent of bay...

Positive nancyanne On Mar 9, 2011, nancyanne from Lafayette, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Bloom season inaccurate. Blooming 3/9/2011 in Lafayette, LA

Neutral Skeeterellen On Oct 14, 2010, Skeeterellen from Chattanooga, TN wrote:

I am trying to grow it in 37415. So far, so good, but we have had no frost. When should I bring it in? What if I leave it outside in a sheltered spot?

Positive Donnabeverin On Sep 6, 2010, Donnabeverin from Earleville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Everything I read says Laurus nobilis grows in zone 8, but there is a gorgeous, outstanding speciment at least 15 feet or more growing at the National Aboretum in DC....go visit. It is free to visit.
Anyone growing in zone 7?

Positive jtelles On Nov 25, 2007, jtelles from Casa Grande, AZ wrote:

I have had two bay trees. One was planted in full Central Arizona sunlight (temperatures up to 125) and it burned and died. The other was planted where it received morning light and afternoon shade and is kept well watered. It is doing extremely well and contributes its leaves to our annual Christmas day prime rib dinner and other favorite dishes throughout the year.

Positive btc129psu On Sep 16, 2007, btc129psu from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Sweet bay also makes a good house plant and seems adaptable to bonsai. My best friend has had a sweet bay growing in her living room for over 5 years now. I don't know how big it was when she planted it but it is currently about 5-6 feet. For most of the year it gets bright, diffuse sunlight through the bay window but in summer she moves it out to her front step where it gets dappled shade.

Not quite a year ago now I also bought a bay seedling in a four inch pot and have been trying to adapt it to bonsai culture. It is still too young to be considered a true bonsai and I can't garuntee success as the tree ages but so far it has been healthy and unphased by the stresses of pruning and root binding. It does grow extremely slowly this way though and has definitely been a good excercise in patience.

Positive soldiersong On Jun 14, 2007, soldiersong from North Plains, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is our second year with our tree. We received it bareroot from One Green World. It is doing very well and is growing slowly, but steadily here 25 miles west of Portland Oregon at 600'. It is heavy clay soil with ammendment and receives water about twice a week during dry weather. It wintered well here. I believe our low this year was in the high 20's F. Didn't phase it a bit.

Positive Nkytree On Nov 4, 2006, Nkytree from Burlington, KY wrote:

I have two of these potted as summer patio trees here in Northern KY (Cincinnati metro area). Im always envious when I see one of these magnificant plants growing outside in milder climates.

Someone should start selecting for increased cold hardiness...they would make a fortune off a cold tolerant selection as friends and family are always begging me to prune my trees so they can have a few leaves. I just wish I could grow them year-round in the ground in my part of Z6a.

Positive rhondakirschman On Mar 9, 2006, rhondakirschman from Kill Devil Hills, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I had one of these on a sandy hill in Colington, Kill Devil Hills, NC (Zone 8a). It grew very large and flavored many meals. I would recommend this shrub/herb to anyone who cooks. Any cheap chicken in a dutch oven w/a bay leaf and a couple spices will make you look like a super-chef in front of all your friends.

I planted it in a well prepared bed and watered regularly when first planted. Once it was well established, it required very little maintenance. This shrub/tree was dear to me like an old and close friend. We were unable to bring it with us when we moved, and it was very sad...

Laurus nobilis doesn't produce seeds in this area and I was unsuccessful in propagating from cuttings.

I'm looking for another one, but all I've found are very small ones suitable for topiary. I prefer one that's more shrubby and ready for cooking.

Positive PvillePlanter On Nov 9, 2004, PvillePlanter from Pflugerville, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

My 3 year old bay tree is about 8 feet tall. Nice evergreen. Likes full sun but can tolerate some shade. Not too demanding water wise. Great winter interest since it is the only tree in my front yard that is evergreen. I keep a small jar of dried leaves on hand, but generally pick a fresh leaf or too and put it in pot right after picking. Dried leaves are also nice in potpouri and for craft projects.

Positive frostweed On May 10, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have a Sweet bay tree that is now 25 feet tall. It was a rather slow grower at the start, but now it grows fairly fast. I use the leaves in cooking and also dry some of them to give to my friends for their cooking.
The tree looks beautiful and evergreen.

Neutral foodiesleuth On May 9, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

My plant is still sort of small, but seems to like it where its planted. Will post updates as it develops. It is now about 3 ft high and was planted as a little 4 " potted plant.

Positive angelam On May 8, 2004, angelam from melbourne
Australia wrote:

We had a plant, about 4ft tall, that we needed to move as a new path was to go over its location. We only had one day to do it,if we were to get adequate roots,between the old path coming up and the new one going in. In the way of these things it ended up occurring on the hottest day of the Summer-well over 100 degrees. The new site hadn't been prepared as the work was rescheduled at very short notice. We got it up and into shade as fast as we could. Dug a hole and filled it several times with water before planting. I then pruned off all the new soft growth of the year to reduce stress. I watered it daily for the rest of that Summer and it survived. It grew very little the following Spring but has gone from strength to strength since. If it can survive moving on a day like that I'd reccommend the attempt any time.

One of my herb books says dried leaves are best as the drying process increases the oil content of the leaves several times over.

Positive watergarener On Mar 13, 2004, watergarener from Denison, TX wrote:

The Bay leaf can be successfully grown in zone 7a in texas, and it becomes a 10' 7b is better but this part of Texas is about to be reclassified as b soon, we believe. You definitely want to remove it from your dish before serving. We really enjoy using this tree in our landscape jobs.

Positive lupinelover On Jan 24, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Bay trees are notoriously difficult to over-winter in cold climates; withholding water in late summer and early autumn helps to induce semi-dormancy.

Bay lends itself to topiary, and the cut portions can be dried for later use.

Neutral Baa On Dec 3, 2001, Baa wrote:

An evergreen tree or shrub from the Mediterranean.

Has glossy, dark green, ovate, scented leaves with a strong mid rib and wavy margins. The bark is smooth and olive green or reddish. Bears green/yellow flowers followed by small, black, egg shaped berries on the female trees.

Flowers March-April

Likes moist, well drained, fertile soil in sun or light shade. Needs a sheltered position from wind and hard frosts.

A must have tree for anyone who has aspirations, it was worn by great men in ancient times be they poets, sports men, soldiers (after a battle was won) or the Emperor of Rome himself.

The Bay leaves are, now, more commonly used as a culinary addition to meats, fish, stews, soups an essential herb in Bouquet Garni, flavour vinegar and curiously milk puddings, the leaves are always removed before serving the dish. Bay leaves are best used freshly picked (and washed). This is the only Laurel species safe to use in cookery.

Bay is NOT a plant to play with, it has narcotic and emetic properties in large doses.

The Bay tree has been used in the past to treat a good many things. It is important to note that almost all the medicines were for external use only. Various concoctions were used to treat fits, ague, plagues (many and various), muscle sprains, earache and hysteria among other things. Nowadays, it is ONLY used in massage oil to relieve muscle sprains and rheumatic pains in the joints.

Bay was also thought to be an enemy of witchcraft and a protection against lightning.

Leaves were strewn ont he floors of rich people, an ingredient in perfume and aftershave, and was also an ingredient in Bay Rum, an alcoholic beverage.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Daleville, Alabama
Florence, Alabama
Chuichu, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Morrilton, Arkansas
Banning, California
Carlsbad, California
Chico, California
Clovis, California
Encinitas, California
Los Angeles, California
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
San Leandro, California
Santee, California
Sutter Creek, California
Van Nuys, California
Vista, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lady Lake, Florida
Palm Beach, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
Wailuku, Hawaii
Bossier City, Louisiana
Kenner, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Raymond, Mississippi
Henderson, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Brooklyn, New York
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Tryon, North Carolina
Wilsons Mills, North Carolina
Lebanon, Oregon
North Plains, Oregon
Erie, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Cordova, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Baytown, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Irving, Texas
Pflugerville, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Springfield, Virginia
Bremerton, Washington
Kirkland, Washington

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