Care of Laurus Nobilis in Containers


Laurus nobilis, also known as sweet bay or laurel, is a small, slow-growing evergreen tree with leathery green bay leaves that can be harvested and used for seasoning culinary dishes any time of year. Laurus nobilis is tender and can't tolerate cold winters. If you live in a climate with chilly winters, plant laurus nobilis in a container and bring it indoors when the weather turns chilly in autumn.

Step 1

Plant Laurus nobilis in a large, sturdy container filled with a potting mixture that will provide adequate drainage. A pre-packaged potting soil or a mixture of equal parts peat, perlite and vermiculite works well. Be sure the container provides bottom drainage.

Step 2

Place the container outdoors during warm weather. Place Laurus nobilis where the plant will be exposed to full sunlight during the mornings and shade in the afternoons.

Step 3

Check the potting mixture often and water whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. During warm weather, Laurus nobilis may need to be watered twice daily.

Step 4

Bring Laurus nobilis indoors before the first frost in autumn. Check for pests first, and remove any dead or yellowing leaves.

Step 5

Place Laurus nobilis in a window where it will get as much sunlight as possible during the winter months. If you don't have a sunny window or you live in a cloudy climate, supplement available light with a grow light.

Step 6

Set the container in a drainage saucer. Water when the soil feels slightly dry, and pour remaining water out of the saucer. Don't allow the plant to remain in standing water.

Things You'll Need

  • Large planting container with drainage hole
  • Pre-packaged potting soil or peat, perlite and vermiculite


  • University of Missouri: Growing Herbs at Home
  • Clemson University: Herbs
  • Clemson University: Laurel
Keywords: Laurus nobilis, bay leaves, sweet bay

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.