I don’t know why I’m so enamored with the bay leaf trees, but I am. I had one in Louisiana for probably 10 years. It was taller than I am. When Vince and I got married, he was living in Kentucky and I was living in Louisiana and it was about three months before Chad and I moved to Kentucky. Vince flew down to Lake Charles, rented a U-Haul truck (I didn’t have so much stuff back then) and loaded up everything and when I said “This tree is going too”, Vince said “Why?” I don’t remember what I said (probably nothing – probably just gave him that look).
During the winter in Kentucky, I’d have to bring the tree inside the garage but one very cold night, I forgot to bring it in and it died. I was so sad. I looked for a new bay leaf tree from probably 1997 to 2018 when I found the two I have now.
I’m not going to rehash the story but you must go read this post. I don’t even remember it but I read it to Vince and he said he did remember it. What a fiasco but I got my two bay leaf trees. They spent their winters in the greenhouse in Texas. When I moved to MO in October, 2020, I told Vince . . I’m taking the two bay leaf trees with me! He asked how I would keep them warm in the winter. I told him . . I will make sure they don’t leak on the wood floors but they will stay inside .. and they did.
This past winter, we kept them in the garage because I read that they are ok to 32 degrees. The first winter I was here, we had several nights with a low of -20. I put 16 oz. bottles of water all over the garage to see if any of them froze and they did not so I figured so long as it doesn’t get below -20, the garage was a safe place for the bay leaf trees.
All of our plants went in and out all winter. We’d have warm, sunny days and we would take them out to get sun. It would get cold at night and we would bring them back in.
I wanted to put the bay leaf trees out where they could be seen but they were in these hideous buckets that were probably once bright orange since they say Home Depot on them.
Yesterday I repotted them and put them on the new concrete pad.
I think I’m going to look for some kind of cute outdoor shelf and put under that window and put other plants and garden decorations on it.
Here’s another funny bay leaf tree story. See the pot on the left – that tree is smaller. It was the winter of 2019 and it died. I had a problem with spider mites getting in a few plants in the greenhouse and the bay leaf trees seemed to be their target. Anyway, it was very dead looking and full of spider mites and I just couldn’t control them so I tossed it out of the greenhouse. It spent the rest of the winter and a few months of spring out in the woods outside the fence where I had thrown it. One day, I was passing by on the RTV and thought . . I need to pick that up and get rid of it all. I stopped, picked it up and I saw green growth! I went back to the house, mixed up some Dawn detergent and made a mild soapy solution. I cut the tree back to where I saw the green growth, scrubbed everything with a brush and that soapy water, rinsed it, tried to wash all the dirt away, repotted it with fresh potting soil and it grew. It still has a partial dead stem sticking up but it’s really looking healthy.
You can see it has new growth and is quite happy! It did a lot better this winter going in and out of the garage than it did staying in the house all winter my first winter here.
Now, I’ll have to make sure they don’t get too much sun where they are but we have plenty of places that don’t get afternoon sun. So happy to have them and so happy to have them healthy!
I planted California Bay Laurel in my yard as a barrier in Oregon. We certainly had cold, icy and freezing weather. Those trees were 10 ft tall when we moved. I never thought to bring them in. I did have problems with powdery mildew but I used neem oil in the spring and it worked. Guess I was lucky.
Not sure how low your temps get but Google says it can survive down to 20. Here, where -20 is not terribly unusual, I don’t think they would stand a chance. Also, with Neem, you may know this but even a very weak solution will burn up a plant if the sun is shining so I couldn’t use it inside the green house where the sun was very hot during the day in Texas. When the plants were small enough that I could move them easily, I would bring them under the carport on the days we weren’t expecting cold nights and use Neem. In fact, Neem is about the only insecticide/pesticide I use for all my garden plants.