Bay trees (Laurus nobilis) have served several functions over the millennia, from garlands for ancient Romans to aromatic additions to soups and stews. The bay tree thrives in Mediterranean climates where it will grow to 40 feet in height, with a 30-foot spread. When grown in the residential landscape homeowners generally prune the tree to keep it within a manageable size. Although your attempts to propagate a bay tree from cuttings will more than likely meet with success, the process requires patience, as the cutting may take up to a year to become fully rooted. The bay tree is hardy in USDA Zones 8b through 11.
Cut a 6-inch piece of stem from the bay tree, using a sharp knife. It should be from the current year's growth and be just passing from the green stage to the woody stage. Take the cutting from the end of the stem closest to the trunk and take a small amount of the bark from the trunk when you cut.
Remove all leaves from the cutting, with the exception of two at the top.
Fill the planting pot with equal parts of vermiculite and sand, water it well and allow it to drain completely. Use your finger or a pencil to create a planting hole for the cutting in the soil.
Dip the cut end (the end with part of the trunk bark attached) of the twig into the rooting hormone.
Stick the bay cutting 3 inches deep into the planting hole and pack the soil around it.
Place the bay cutting on the heat mat, set at 75 degrees F, in an area where it will not be in direct sunlight.
Mist the cutting with water every day. If the soil begins to dry, mist the soil until it is moist. Rooting should occur within 90 days, but may take longer. When the cutting begins producing foliage, it has rooted and you can remove it from the heat mat.