Anybody growing bay leaf laurel indoors?

Here in Alaska I have two Meyer lemon bushes that keep me company during the winter month. Chances are I will never see a lemon from them; I could if I took the time to give them more ideal light cycles, but I’m just too busy to keep at it. Regardless, they have been earning their keep because I keep propagating every time I prune them and they are popular here.

And yet I figure I need something more useful that doesn’t require extra efforts. To that end I’m thinking bay leaf laurel. I mean by definition the bare minimum is keeping them alive, and leaves are implied in that equation. :slight_smile:

Is anybody here growing them indoors? Do they like staying alive in low light? Are their roots fast or slow? One good thing about Meyer lemons is that they have extremely slow growing roots so you can take your time repotting and prunning them.


I assume you’re asking about the Mediterranean bay leaf (Laurus nobilis), not any of the various other members of the laurel family that sometimes are called “bay” or “bay leaf.” I’ve seen them in outdoor planters pretty often, but never grown them myself.

I have grown California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica) for a few years in a pot, because a squirrel planted it there a few years ago after whatever was in it originally had died. I decided to keep it initially, but it grew so slowly that I ended up giving it away in the local “little free plant library” a few months ago. Based on the slow growth rate when young, I suspect it would do fine in a pot for awhile at least. I prefer the leaves over those of the Mediterranean species, but apparently the main aroma compound in californica can trigger headaches for some people.

I would want the one better suited for culinary purposes. Unless there is a bush form that is better suited for indoor growing.

Basically I’m not familiar with the plant so I figure I would ask here.

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Well I’m not sure which is better, I definitely prefer californica for culinary use, and I know it’s often sold as “bay leaf” commercially, but the potential headache toxin is at least one reason to stick with the Mediterranean one. I’ve never had a headache from it, though.

I had a bay tree (Laurus Nobilis) for 10 years. It started as a 4 inch tall tree and I kept it potted and brought it indoors year after year. I had a watering mishap and lost it 2 years ago. It was over 6 feet tall in the end and full. I purchased another last fall and I’m starting over with another 4 inch plant.

I won’t get to harvest any leaves for a couple years, at least if the last one is any indication. It was a pretty easy plant indoors and survived under a few household LED lights in my basement during the winter. I kept the new one in my back sun-porch (3 season) last winter. (coldest temp 38 degrees F)


I bought a bay leaf (Lauris nobilis) for my mother about 4 years ago, so it has been overwintered 3 times. She keeps it next to a window in a cool room (12 - 15°C) in winter and it has overwintered fine these 3 years. When I bought it, it was about 20 cm high, now it is about half a meter. The pot is propably about 15 litres of volume, so no problem to move. We only use a few of the leaves, if it was pruned more it could propably be kept smaller. Anyway, apart from some spidermites, it has always overwintered fine, but is clearly happier outside.


They grow perfectly fine indoor during the winter season.


I love the kangaroo xing sign in the background. You never can be to careful. :blush:

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They do grow well in containers, but the dried Turkey and California grown leaves are of so much higher quality and so cheap that I don’t bother.

Anyone here is an Afrikaans speaker?
I need help for my next road sign.


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Ha! I am afraid not. As close as I ever got was Amharic for a bit. I am currently driving through a moose heavy area, but that is probably blasé for us both.