Growing Bay Leaf at the Allotment

Growing Bay Leaf at the Allotment

A Bay Leaf tree is usually purchased as a small tree or plant that you can grow on. It is an evergreen shrub and the leaves can be harvested all year round. The leaves are used to infuse sauces, soups and cooked dishes to add a depth of flavour. If fresh leaves are used, it will be stronger and dried leaves are more subtle in flavour.

To plant, use a warm and sheltered position with sun. in well-drained soil. Bay trees have shallow roots and therefore care needs to be taken when weeding around it. They can also be planted in a container that is just a bit bigger than the root ball. Ensure there is good drainage in the pot. 

After the first year, when the plant has bedded in well, it will only require watering in dry spells unless it is in a container, in which case the compost will dry out quickly. 

Bay Leaf trees can be clipped in spring to tidy it up and may benefit from some general liquid fertiliser once per fortnight throughout the summer.

Bay Leaf; being of a traditionally grown Mediterranean origin does not like the cold and will need protection with fleece from autumn onwards or if it is grown in a container, take it indoors/into the greenhouse.

Leaves can be picked all year round and can be used fresh as well as dried out. Just hang a sprig or leave the leaves in a warm place until thoroughly dried out and then store in an airtight container.


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Growing Bay Leaf in Summary

Sowing Bay Leaf

  • Plant out in a sunny and sheltered position
  • Water regularly during the first year
  • Can be planted in containers

Growing Bay Leaf

  • Can be clipped in spring
  • Weed carefully around its shallow roots
  • Protect against cold weather

Harvesting Bay Leaf

  • Leaves can be picked all year round
  • Can be used fresh or dried
  • Can be frozen in water