Bay Tree

Laurus nobilis | Also known as: Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay, Roman laurel, Royal bay | Rating: 2 votes | Print / Pdf

Whether the Bay Tree knows its leaves make stews and soups tastier will always be a mystery.

Grown as either a small evergreen tree or large shrub, Laurus nobilis makes an impressive contribution not just to a garden, but the kitchen too. Its narrow, lance-shaped grey-green leaves are commonly used in flavouring soups, though they are never consumed themselves. Known as the Bay Tree, or Bay Laurel, it produces clusters of tiny yellow, fuzzy flowers, which give way to black berries in autumn, and is often clipped into finely manicured shapes. The Bay Tree loves sun and well-drained soil, and is as happy in a large pot as it is in the ground. It doesn't like cold winds though, so a sheltered spot is best.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 12
Spread [m]
  • 10
Dominant flower colour
  • Yellow
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Flowering seasons
  • Early spring
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
Foliage in spring
  • Green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Green
Foliage in winter
  • Green
  • Yes, let it smell
Propagation methods
  • semi-ripe cuttings
  • seed
Growth habit
  • Conical
  • Erect
  • Acidic
  • Neutral
  • Alkaline
Hardiness zone
  • Z8-11
Heat zone
  • H12-1
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -12 - 4
Heat days
  • 0 - 210
  • well-drained
Soil type
  • sandy
  • Clay
  • chalky
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Trees & shrubs
  • Trees
Grown for
  • Ornamental Foliage
Creative category
  • Kid Approved
  • For Beginners
  • Show-offs
  • Outdoor food
  • Neighbour repellant
  • For every season
  • Author's choice
Garden type
  • Woodland
  • Coastal
  • Kitchen garden
  • Topiary
Garden spaces
  • Specimen
  • Hedges and screens
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • 30 years or longer
1 Related plants