Bay (Laurus nobilis). Bay, also known as sweet bay, is a slow growing evergreen perennial native to the Mediterranean region, whose fresh or dried leaves are used in soups or stews. Bay is not hardy in Ontario and is therefore best grown in a container that can be placed outdoors in full sun in warmer weather, then moved indoors to a sunny location before the first frost.
Cultivation: Use a well-draining potting soil. Bay is susceptible to root rot so be careful not to overwater and do not allow the pot to sit in water. However, it must never be allowed to dry out completely. Fertilize with a general-purpose fertilizer every two weeks in the growing season – late spring through summer – and not at all in the winter when growth ceases. Bay lends itself to being shaped into a standard or other form of topiary.
Propagation by both seed and cuttings is slow, so store bought plants are often preferred.
Bay is prone to infestations of scale and mealy bugs. Leaf spot may be a sign of overwatering or the need to repot.
Disclaimer: Toronto Master Gardeners does not advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. Any information in the recommended resources should be regarded as being for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any medical or health treatment.
For more information:
RHS ‘Bay Tree’ https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=251
RHS ‘Herbs-Growing’ https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=679
University of Illinois Extension https://web.extension.illinois.edu/herbs/bay-laurel.cfm
Herb Society of America (HSA) Quick Facts (Bay)https://herbsocietyorg.presencehost.net/file_download/inline/4dbd2651-6faa-483b-8d8e-72a7714b0da8
Herb Society of America (HAS) Essential Herb Guide: (Bay) https://www.herbsociety.org/file_download/inline/1cd1802d-70ea-4fb8-a14b-4f4bb72e2435
University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/sweet-bay-laurus-nobilis/
Date revised: December 2021
Prepared by the Toronto Master Gardeners, these Gardening Guides provide introductory information on a variety of gardening topics. Toronto Master Gardeners are part of a large, international volunteer community committed to providing the public with horticultural information, education and inspiration. Our goal is to help Toronto residents use safe, effective, proven and sustainable horticultural practices to create gardens, landscapes and communities that are both vibrant and healthy.
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