The Q&A Archives: Growing Bay Leaves

Question: Can you give me some pointers on growing a bay leaf plant? I have purchased a three-inch plant in a pot -- I want it to grow into a tree so that I can harvest the leaves for seasoning and keep it as a house plant this winter.

Answer: Bay, or Laurus nobilis, is a tree that thrives in tropical and subtropical areas. In the spring, you can plant it outside after all danger of frost in a sunny location. Just sink the pot right into the soil so that, come fall, you can dig it up without disturbing the roots. Place it in a sunny window for the winter season. If you need to repot it, use a good quality potting soil. Bay is a slow grower and requires ample water. Check the soil two or three times a week; if it is dry, soak it with warm water. To use your bay leaves in cooking, you'll need to dry them first. Pick the larger leaves from the bottom of the plant. Arrange them in a single layer on a plate and leave them in a cool, dry place, uncovered, for about a week.

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