Bay Leaf Plant

ll admit, that my house is peppered with houseplants. Some are given to me as gifts from friends and family; some I’ve purchased myself to accent our lebensraum . While I don’t often “need” a reason to shop for a replacement plant I appreciate it immensely when one can serve double duty: being a beautiful houseplant and serving a function also true laurel may be a great example of just that and it just got put at the highest of my want list.

Growing true laurel indoors should be considered by anyone who uses bay leaves for cooking and is looking to feature to their indoor houseplant collection.

What is Bay Laurel?

Also referred to as swamp bay or laurel, true laurel (Laurus nobilis) may be a perennial evergreen within the Lauraceae family that’s native to the Mediterranean region.

Laurel plants are rich in history. During the traditional Greek and Roman times, the leaves were woven together to make highly renowned crowns to adorn the heads of athletes and rulers. The trees were also grown on the brink of temples therefore the foliage might be harvested and burned during sacred temple rituals.

Bay laurel is usually grown as a tree which will reach staggering heights upwards of 50-feet; it also works incredibly well as a container plant that moves between your outdoor and indoor spaces, or is kept indoors year-round. Plants display medium-sized, glossy green leaves that are highly aromatic and commonly utilized in cooking.


Many people are conversant in bay leaves but they’ll not remember that they are available from the true laurel trees. Bay leaves are most ordinarily known for his or her culinary uses, but they even have a couple of other uses also.


Bay leaves are most frequently utilized in many Mediterranean dishes, either as whole fresh bay leaves or the dried leaves are ground employing a mortar and pestle.

Recipes for soups, stews, and casseroles may instruct you to throw one , whole herb or two into the dish while cooking then removed before serving. Traditionally thyme, sage, and herb – sometimes rosemary and tarragon too – are tied during a bundle referred to as a bouquet garni and added to the liquid of soups and stews for flavor.


In addition to its popularity within the kitchen, true laurel has many useful homeopathic uses too.

  • As an astringent (1) to assist with bruises, burns, and bug bites. Add 1 tablespoon of filtered or water to 1 ½ tablespoons of finely ground herb powder, mixing to make a paste which will be applied to the skin.
  • Make a poultice to treat poison ivy or joint pain. Take fresh bay leaves and crush them into a pulp. Spread the pulp evenly across the skin of the affected area, wrapping with gauze or muslin to carry in situ .
  • Massage therapy oil for relief of aches and pains. Place about 100g of unpolluted , fresh bay leaves during a glass jar and add 1 liter of cold-pressed vegetable oil . Seal the jar and set during a large pan crammed with water; bring back a boil and simmer for two hours. Strain the oil, discard the bay leaves, and repeat the method with another 100g of fresh bay leaves and therefore the strained oil. Strain again then pour the infused oil into a clean container to be used .
  • Aromatherapy to calm the mind and help relax the body. Simply place 3-4 sundried leaves during a flame-resistant bowl and burn. The fragrance acts as incense, with the aroma filling the air.

Other uses

While bay leaves are not any longer wont to create crowns for athletes or those holding power, they’re still wont to make decorative crowns, wreaths, and garlands.

How to grow

Bay laurel is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8-11. In areas with cold climates (down to USDA zone 4 or 5) a herb plant is often grown during a container as a patio plant during the hotter months then brought inside and added to your indoor garden when temperatures drop.

Potted plants also can be ground indoors year-round, as they create a stunning addition to your home’s decor.


To grow true laurel during a container, you’ll need the subsequent basic supplies.


Unlike many other herbs, true laurel is extremely slow to start out from the seed, unfortunately. it’s recommended you buy alittle plant from an area nursery or garden center, or if you’ve got access to an existing tree you’ll propagate a replacement tree via air layering using this protocol:

Take an extended stem or branch from the prevailing plant and bend it down towards the soil/potting mix. take care to not snap this stem or branch off of the plant.
Using pieces of wire or small metal stakes, secure the stem to the growing media leaving the highest 3 to 4-inches of the stem free.
Over time new roots should form at the nodes that are in touch with the soil.
Once roots have developed, carefully cut the newly rooted stem from the most plant and transplant it into a container.

Growing media

When grown during a kitchen garden, or a garden bed, a herb tree likes well-draining soil and is tolerant of a variety of pH from 4.5 to 8. For potted containers choose a growing media that’s slightly acidic (pH between 6-7) that has good water holding capacity yet freely drains excess moisture. true laurel doesn’t wish to be waterlogged but it doesn’t wish to have dry soil either.

Commercially available potting soils or coconut coir are great options; both are lightweight, avoid compaction, and have excellent water retention properties. you’ll add extra perlite or vermiculite to potting soil to extend drainage if you would like .


To help maintain the balance between adequate soil moisture versus an excessive amount of or insufficientsearch for a container that’s plastic or fiberglass as against earthenware or ceramic. These will hold onto soil moisture a touch longer.

Make sure there are good drainage holes within the bottom or add them yourself to let the surplus water drain out.

Choose containers that are always a couple of inches wider and deeper than the basis ball of your tree, to permit room for root growth.

Care and Harvesting

Bay laurel may be a pretty easy-going plant, even when grown indoors, once you provides it the subsequent basic care.


To achieve the luxurious foliage on bay trees confirm to place them during a location that receives full sun to partial shade. Exposure to a south or west-facing window is best when grown indoors.

If you see signs of insufficient light you’ll supplement with a grow light or maybe try giving it some exposure to extra fluorescent light.


Bay laurel is somewhat indifferent to fluctuations in temperatures, as long as they’re above freezing and stay below 90℉. Keep your tree within the main living areas of your home where temperatures range between 60 and 75℉ for optimum growth; below this and growth will slow considerably because the plant will think it’s time to travel dormant.


Due to the Mediterranean origin, true laurel prefers high humidity levels. Humidity levels inside most homes are on the drier side; to combat this periodically mist your tree when grown indoors or grow it during a high humidity area of the house like the toilet.


Plants just like the potting mix or growing media to be slightly moist in the least times without being waterlogged. Water regularly during the hotter months, ensuring to not let the base ball dry out. During the dormant season, you’ll ease abreast of the watering slightly, letting the highest inch of growing media dry out before watering again.


Apply a balanced organic (compost tea or fish emulsion works well) once during the spring then once more later within the summer. don’t fertilize when the plant is dormant during the colder months.


For the foremost part, true laurel has few problems with diseases or pests. Avoid letting the soil become waterlogged to avoid plant disease and punctiliously await aphids, scale insects, and bay sucker which is understood as jumping plant lice. Treat infestations quickly to attenuate long-term damage.


Every 2 to three years move the plant to a bigger container and refresh the potting soil. Plants will tolerate being slightly rootbound so there isn’t a requirement to repot per annum like with some indoor container plants.


Bay laurel is slow growing so it isn’t necessary for the health of the tree to prune it regularly but are often done. Like other plants, pruning will encourage more vigorous growth and bushier trees.

When grown indoors it’s important to stay the peak of your plant manageable. Keep indoor plants trimmed in order that they resemble alittle tree, growing no larger than 5 or 6-feet tall.

You can also shape your true laurel into topiary forms if so desired. It’s best to try to to this in early spring or fall.


This is the most important difference between a bay plant and your other “common” herbs – wait to reap leaves until your tree is a minimum of two years old. Then use sharp scissors or shear to get rid of the foliage you desire.

After harvesting, lay fresh leaves on a parchment paper-covered tray during a single layer and permit to dry for a few of weeks during a warm, dry room in your house. Then store the entire dried bay leaves in an airtight container or grind them up for future use.


If you’re within the marketplace for a stunning houseplant that serves double duty by providing leaves with culinary and even medicinal uses, you ought to certainly consider adding a true laurel plant to your collection! Beautiful and functional, these trees are easy to worry about and have few insect or disease problems. Give them the proper amount of sunshinethe right temperature, and keep the soil moist and you’ll be rewarded with aromatic foliage to use

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