Growing Sweet Bay

Bay is a tender perennial shrub know for its culinary use, as well as, for the ability to train and shape it into a lovely garden plant with some careful pruning. This is a guide about growing sweet bay.


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April 24, 2006 Flag
Botanical Name:
Laurus nobilis
Common names:
Sweet Bay
Sweet Bay is a popular choice for herb gardens not only for it's culinary, medicinal and craft uses, but because its aromatic woody branches and dark green, glossy leaves can be trimmed and trained in order to make whimsical designs, stylish patio plants or formal topiaries. Sweet Bay is also a versatile shrub in that it can be allowed to grow very large, or kept to a height of 6 feet with regular trimming and pruning.
Life Cycle:
tender shrub
full sun to partial shade
Sweet Bay cannot tolerate cold temperatures or strong winds. It prefers well drained soil and should be given shelter from wind and potted and taken indoors during the winter. Sweet Bay is hardy to zone 7 and south.
seeds and cuttings (preferred method)
Parts Used:
leaves, sweet woody fragrance
Harvesting and Storage:
cut fresh leaves for use as needed
Medicinal Uses:
leaves are used as a mild sedative and for treating stomach upsets or as an antiseptic
Culinary Uses
flavoring meat dishes, sauces, and soups
Other Uses:
Bay can be used for making wreaths and potpourri, to prevent silverfish from damaging books and clothes and to repel weevils in the pantry.
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