The evergreen bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) grows as a large shrub. Its foliage is extremely aromatic. The shrub makes an excellent topiary project shrub, hedge, privacy screen or simple yard specimen. The bay laurel sustains pruning well and can be kept large or small. Left to grow it will easily attain a height of up to 60 feet. The leathery foliage of the plant often measures up to 4 inches in length. Each spring, tiny yellow flowers appear, followed by black or purple berries on a female shrub. Male shrubs produce no berries. The shrub is hardy in zones 8 to 10.
Plant Laurus nobilis in partial shade. The shrub requires partial shade to tolerate hot summer months.
Dig a hole that is twice as large as the shrub's root system when planting. Mix abundant aged manure and peat moss into the soil. The shrub adores rich soil that is high in organic content. The planting soil should have a crumbly soil consistency. Plant the Laurus nobilis in a location that offers well-draining soil. The shrub does not tolerate standing water around its roots.
Water the Laurus nobilis frequently until established. The shrub enjoys moist soil conditions and once established will tolerate drought well.
Prune the Laurus nobilis in the early spring. Remove dead or diseased branches. Prune to fit whatever shape is desired.
Fertilize once in the spring and once in the summer using a general purpose 14-14-14 fertilizer. Apply according to the directions on the label.