How to Care for a Bay Plant


Bay plants are quite popular. Cooks grow them because they offer fresh, pungent ingredients year round. Gardeners love them because they are an attractive topiary that responds well to pruning. The most common way to grow bay plants is in a pot kept indoors for most of the year. This keeps them at a manageable size (they can reach 40 feet in height if allowed to grow unchecked) with minimal pruning, and it allows them to be easily moved indoors and out of freezing temperatures.

Step 1

Make sure your bay plant is near a window so that it gets plenty of sunlight when it's indoors.

Step 2

Fertilize your bay plant. Bay plants purchased from a nursery do not need to be fertilized for the first six months that they are in your home. When it's time to fertilize, use an organic, complete fertilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 3

Give your bay plant some time out of doors at least one season a year. Spring is a great time to do this.

Step 4

Prune your bay plant. This should be done once a year, using secateurs. Bay plants can withstand extensive pruning and can be shaped to any height, width or shape. However, they naturally grow in a pyramid shape and do not need to be trimmed. If left to its own devices in a 12-inch diameter pot, your bay plant will grow anywhere from five to six feet.

Step 5

Water your bay plant. When grown indoors, your bay plant's soil should be allowed to dry out before it is watered. Take care not to water it too much, although younger developing plants need more water than older established ones.

Step 6

Re-pot your bay plant every five years. It's next pot should be two inches wider in diameter than the previous one.

Step 7

Winter your bay plant indoors. Bay trees do not handle freezing weather well.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs


  • Grow Bay Leaf
  • Herb Expert: Growing Bay Leaves
  • Bay
Keywords: care for bay plant, grow bay plant, grow bay tree

About this Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.