BAY

FAMILY: Lauraceae | GENUS: LAURUS nobilis

TYPE
  • Evergreen
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Moderate Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

This Mediterranean native grows slowly to 1240 feet tall and wide. Natural habit is compact and broad basedoften that of a multistemmed, gradually tapering cone. Leathery, aromatic leaves are the traditional bay leaves of cookeryoval, 24 inches long, dark green. Clusters of small yellow flowers are followed by - to 1 inches-long, black or dark purple berries.

Dense habit makes it a good large background shrub, screen, or small tree. Takes well to clipping into standards, hedges, or topiary shapes such as globes and cones. A classic formal container plant and longtime favorite in the South. 'Little Ragu' has narrow, golden-green leaves and grows 58 feet tall. 'Saratoga' has broader leaves and a more treelike habit.

Not fussy about soil but needs good drainage. Tends to sucker heavily. In the Upper and Middle South, grow in a container and move to greenhouse or cool, well-lighted room when temperatures reach about 20F; water sparingly until spring.

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