The bay tree or laurel is an aromatic plant common in the wild throughout the Mediterranean area; it should be planted in full sun in a well lit and airy place, and over the years it can reach the size of a small tree. It does not require a particular type of soil, provided it is put in a place with no stagnant water. It easily withstands drought and summer heat, but it is still a good idea to water recently planted plants during the summer.
It is not affected by frost. It has vigorous growth and although it tends not to grow too quickly, every year it produces numerous new branches. If grown in a small garden it should be contained through careful pruning, as shrubs left to themselves tend to become quite bulky, filling all the available space. Pruning takes place at the end of winter, removing any branches damaged by cold or sickness, with a second pruning in late spring, after flowering, to shorten the ends of all the branches. If you have enough space available you can avoid pruning the bay every year, although it is a very quick method to get a lot of leaves, which are used in the kitchen as herbs, both fresh and dried.