Planting Position: Bay trees prefer to be planted in full sun, but will tolerate light shade, they are best planted in areas protected from strong winds and sharp frosts, however this is more for the winter months.
Soil: They are tolerant of a wide range of soils except heavy clay, if your soil has a large clay content this can be counter acted when planting by digging a large hole and mixing the soil with lots of compost and some sharp sand, this will almost certainly make the area more suitable.
Suitable for container planting: Yes ideal for container planting. If pot planting a multi purpose compost is suitable, or in an ideal scenario a John Innes number 2 is the absolute perfect choice it may also be advisable to add some stones at the base to create some drainage.
Eventual height and spread: Can if left un-cared for grow up to 12 metres with a spread of 12 metres, but as most people have these trees in pots or as specimen topiary plants this is not an issue. Please see below regarding pruning.
Growth speed: Relatively slow.
Flowering Period: Small yellow flowers are produced in Spring, followed by black berries on female plants.
Pruning: Topiary trained Bay Trees are best trimmed using secateurs during the summer months, this encourages a dense habit and maintains the desired shape. Remove any leaf tips damaged by winter weather by lightly pruning in late spring.
Foliage: The glossy dark green leaves look superb and can of course be used in a wide range of recipes.
Winter Hardy: -5 but will tolerate lower temperatures if planted in the ground, it may be advisable to protect the foliage by wrapping in a winter fleece and wrapping the pot in bubble wrap to protect the roots, alternatively it could be moved into a garage or shed during the harshest months.
Your bay trees should, in ideal conditions, be re potted every two years, even if you decide not to repot we would recommend replacing some of the old compost periodically with fresh John Innes number 3, also adding a controlled release fertiliser to the mix will help. Alternatively use a liquid feed approximately every two weeks during spring and summer.