The Q&A Archives: Bay Leaves

Question: What plant yields the aromatic and flavorful bay leaf? I can't find any information in major plant catalogues and web sites about growing this herb - I'd like to know if I can grow it in zone 5 (central Massachusetts), even as a house plant. I can't seem to keep enough of it in my pantry!

Answer: Laurus nobilis is the tree grown for its bay leaves used in cooking. It is sold as a potted plant because it is propagated by cuttings. Usually it is available through herb specialists and large garden centers in the spring. It is not cold hardy but it can be grown for years in a pot or large tub taken indoors for the winter and is often used as a topiary subject.

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