In warm climates, Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis) is used as a handsome landscape tree or sheared into geometrical hedges and topiaries. Elsewhere, it is best grown in a container and brought indoors for the winter and placed in a sunny window. Plants adapt perfectly to shearing, so feel free to prune them frequently. Fresh leaves are an essential seasoning for soups and stews, and they impart a rich aroma to chicken, fish, or meat dishes. The leaves are easily dried and stored. We ship a bushy, 18in plant in a 6 3/4in clay pot.
WEATHER PERMITTING - Working with Mother Nature
In our business, we work closely with Mother Nature. In the colder months when we stipulate that an item is shipped “weather permitting”, that means temperatures outside our shipping facility in northwestern Connecticut and along the shipping route must be warm enough for tender plants to survive in unheated delivery trucks. Our practice of waiting for windows of milder weather may result in the occasional delay, but our customers tend to appreciate the care we take to make certain their plants arrive in the very best possible condition. Questions? Don’t hesitate to call our customer service staff at 1-800-411-6159.
HOW PLANTS ARE SHIPPED
The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship these perennials and annuals in 1 pint pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting, but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience. We ship bulbs as dormant, bare bulbs, sometimes with some wood shavings or moss. Shrubs, Roses, vines, and other woody plants may be shipped bareroot or in pots. The size of the pot is noted in the quick facts for each item.
WHEN WE SHIP
We ship our bulbs and plants at the right time for planting in your area, except as noted, with orders dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis by climate zone. Estimated dates for shipping are indicated in the Shipping Details box for each item. Please refer to the Shipping Details box to determine the earliest shipping time. Unless you specify otherwise, fertilizers, tools, and other non-plant items are shipped with your plants or bulbs. Please supply a street address for delivery. Kindly contact us with two weeks notice, if you'll be away at expected time of delivery.
We guarantee to ship plants that are in prime condition for growing. If your order is damaged or fails to meet your expectations, we will cheerfully replace or refund it. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-503-9624 or email us at [email protected]. Please include your order number or customer number when contacting us.
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Elaine from Minnesota
I received this plant in the spring and have it outside. I have used the bay leaves for soups and stews. It is a very hardy plant. I will bring it inside for late fall and winter so I can enjoy it in spring.
Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis) reaches a height of 40 feet in its native Mediterranean reqion. However, Bay trees are slow growers and if grown in containers, they can be kept to a very manageable size with only a small amount of clipping. A Bay plant makes an attractive houseplant and will be a ready source of fragrant, flavorful leaves for use in cooking or potpourri. Its shape is easily maintained by an occasional snipping.
LIGHT: Sweet Bay grows in full sun to partial shade, which means that you may place your plant in a window that faces south or one that receives bright light for several hours during the day. Keep in mind that a plant grown in very sunny conditions will need more attention to watering than one that receives less light.
TEMPERATURE: In fall and winter, place your Sweet Bay in a cool room (ideally, where the temperature doesn't rise much above 60°F). During spring and summer when your plant is actively growing, warmer room temperatures and outdoor temperatures above freezing are fine.
WATER: When the potting mix feels dry 1 inch below the surface, water thoroughly. Your plant will require less water in fall and winter, but don't let the soil mix dry out completely.
FERTILIZER: It is not necessary to fertilizer during fall and winter, the time of year when your plant naturally takes a rest. Wait until spring to fertilize monthly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer (such as 10-10-10).
HARVESTING THE LEAVES: You can harvest Bay leaves at any time of year, but their flavor is strongest in mid- to late summer. Pull off the older leaves rather than the new; older leaves generally have more flavor. The essential oils in the leaves dissipate rapidly after harvesting, so for best flavor, use the leaves within a few days. Wash the leaves before using.
PESTS: Bay trees sometimes fall prey to soft-bodied scale, small yellow-brown insects that fix themselves to the stems and suck sap from the plant. On container-grown plants, spray the entire plant with insecticidal soap, BioNeem, or a superior oil (available at garden centers) labeled for indoor use, following the directions carefully. Dabbing the scale with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol is another remedy, but the process is time consuming and usually doesn't entirely eliminate the scale.
GROWING OUTDOORS: Sweet Bay is hardy to Zone 8 (10°F), but if you live in an area with cold winters, you may move your plant outdoors for the summer. After the danger of frost has passed in spring, gradually acclimate your plant to conditions outside. Keep it in a lightly shaded location for the summer, and bring it back in before frost in fall.
REPOTTING: After a year or more, when the roots of the plant have become crowded, transplant it into a larger pot. Choose a pot that is 1–2 inches wider in diameter, with a drainage hole in the bottom. Use a fast-draining potting mix, and begin by filling the container about half–full of moistened mix. Remove the plant from the pot by grasping the rim, turning the pot upside down, and tapping it against the heel of your hand. Gently break up the sides of the root ball with your thumbs and tease apart any roots thar are circling at the bottom. Then set the root ball on top of the mix and adjust the amount of mix in the container so that the top of the root ball will be about 1 inch below the rim. Fill in around the root ball with potting mix to bring the level to about 1 inch below the rim, and firm lightly. Finally, water thoroughly.