Bay trees Laurus nobilis (sometimes called Aromatic Bay) is a lovely neat and glossy evergreen tree. It is hardy but may suffer damage in harsh winds and extreme cold so should be kept in a sheltered well-drained spot out of the wind.
Bay trees suffer very little from disease and are easy to prune and keep in shape. If allowed to grow free your bay trees could reach 40' by 30' but they are superb topiary specimens and are easy to keep to a more appropriate size. The leaves have culinary uses and spices are made from the berries and the leaf oil.
PLEASE NOTE THE PLANT HEIGHT INCLUDES THE POT. SIZES MAY VARY BY ABOUT 5% BUT WE ALWAYS TRY TO PICK WELL MATCHED PLANTS WHEN YOU ORDER MORE THAN ONE.
A well grown Bay tree is a beautiful topiary specimen providing structure and formality, either in a pot or within a formal planting scheme. Perfect for a statement on a terrace or on either side of doors or arches. You can buy both lollipop bay and 'pyramids'. Both are easy to keep in shape by pruning in spring. They will need a little care in harsh winters and, if placed in an exposed situation, are best protected with horticultural fleece. The leaves can be used for culinary purposes and the prunings can be dried or frozen.
Bay trees can be prone to leaf spot, which is often caused by waterlogged roots, or overly wet conditions. When container grown plants suffer from this it is usually an indication that the compost has become old and tired. If this happens, you should root-prune and replant your tree into fresh, well-drained compost.
Bay trees can also suffer from peeling bark. This most often follows harsh winters, after which they may develop cracked, peeling bark, especially on the lower stems. The exact cause of this is not certain, but cold weather and other factors such as fluctuating moisture levels are likely to be contributors. Any damage caused is not serious, however, and provided the rest of the plant is growing normally or has recovered from winter damage by midsummer, no action should be necessary.
The Laurus Nobilis that is cultivated today is a descendant of the wild laurels from laurel forests that grew in the Mediterranean basin 10,000 years ago. They thrived in humid conditions and gradually died out leaving just small pockets in the mountains of Southern Turkey, Syria, Portugal, Spain, the Canary Isles and Madeira. It was honoured as a noble plant by the Greeks and Romans who used the leaves to form crowns called Laureate - a name used to this day.