This Culinary Herb is Also a Super Shrub!
Whether you consider Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) a large shrub or a small tree (horticulturists use both terms for it), you’ll be amazed at its versatility. Although this herbal plant is the source of bay leaves that add flavor your favorite cooked dishes, you can also shape it into a topiary specimen, enjoy it as an evergreen landscape shrub or grow it as a privacy hedge!
A Checklist of Benefits
• A non-pruning dream. Bay Laurel is a tidy shrub that naturally grows into a pyramidal shape, which is good news if you don’t like to spend time pruning your plants. But if you want to make nips here and tucks there, Bay Laurel is an easy-to-shape shrub – particularly for shearing into perfect topiaries!
• A fragrant evergreen hedge. Glossy green leaves grow thickly on Bay Laurel, making it a good choice as a hedge plant. Plant a row of Bay Laurel shrubs to define the borders of your yard or to form the outline of a cozy courtyard garden.
• A deer-tolerant shrub. Although Bay Laurel is prized as an aromatic herb, deer don’t favor it in their diet, which is good news for you!
The Newest Addition to Your Herb Garden
If you only think of herbs such as basil, oregano and thyme as plants for your herb garden, Bay Laurel may be your next favorite culinary plant! Use it as a backdrop or even the centerpiece for other herbs. If you don’t plant directly beneath it, its pyramidal shape won’t shade the other herbs planted around it, which need full sun.
• Harvesting. Harvesting Bay Laurel is as easy as pinching or cutting the leaves as needed. You can use the leaves fresh off the plant, or you can dry the leaves for future use.
• Cooking. Using Bay Laurel leaves in your favorite recipes is a snap. Simmer the leaves in soups or stews or make a bed of leaves underneath baked fish and poultry dishes. Discard the leaves before serving.
• Decorating. With your own Bay Laurel plant, you’ll even have plenty of leaves to make a fragrant wreath for your front door!
Purchase the Best
Because Bay Laurel grows slowly, it’s best to purchase our established plants that have lush top growth and healthy root systems. They’ll be off to a better start in your garden than the tiny starter plants offered elsewhere. If you live in USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11, plant your Bay Laurel outside in a sunny spot (partial shade is okay) and be sure to keep it well-watered during its first growing season. Growing Tip: If you live north of Zone 8, simply plant your Bay Laurel in a pretty pot and move it inside during the winter where you can grow it as a houseplant!