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Bay trees in winter


I have three bay trees in my block built flower bed and wanted to know how they will cope with the winter? Do I cover the whole tree from top to bottom with winter fleece? Or just the base or just the leaves? 

I also have a Tuscan olive tree and I’m not sure what to do with that either. 

These can’t be moved as they are already planted in my flower bed. 

Thank you 



  • My bay tree has been outside every winter for the past 15+ years. Including during the Beast from the East. All I do is to wrap the terracotta pot to help prevent frost damage … it’s already raised on feet to help with drainage and the tree is planted in a very gritty free-draining compost. 

    As with all Mediterranean plants the main danger in the winter is water logging. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • coccinellacoccinella Posts: 1,366
    I move the pot down the eaves of the house so that it doesn't get wet, I water it two or three times all winter (here is 5 months with prolonged spells of frost) but I do cover it too. I have had it for about 20 years. 

  • Our bay tree is in the ground and has been for some 20 years and this includes when we had -14 degrees back in 2010.
    Still doing very well.
    We don't protect it at all.
  • We have bay in our back garden on the back fence which is as far as you can get from the warmth of our house, it's also in a north facing position (which hasn't seemed to bother it) as it was planted for us by the birds. In this less than idea place it has thrived for the last twenty years, it's not a plant id worry about if you live in most city areas.   

    Olives are hardy as well if they don't get to wet. If it's young then some fleece might help if we are forecast really bad weather but you probably won't need it.
  • Thank you everyone for your answers. Very helpful!! 

    Tanya xx 
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,305
    I have a bay tree 30 years in the ground and one in a container that I nearly lost through neglect.  Good advice from here.  repotting, watering now and again and cutting off curly leaves, it's  now a fine specimen.
    They are certainly hardy in London with no protection.
    From what I've noticed with posts about bays is  that they die when the container is too small and when people see them as a decorative object and forget they're a living thing that needs a drink now and again.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Interesting. I still believe that some plants set out to break the rules, just to make fools of us. I have two bays, in containers, which I keep near the house and they do fine. They are too big to move now, so they just have to take what life throws at them. Their mum grows down the garden in waterlogged clay soil. It was there when we arrived, 30 years ago and has continued to thrive in wind, wet, ice and heat and drought.
  • We had bay at our last house - it was there when we arrived over 30 years ago. Still there now and I’ve never done anything but hedge it once a year. It’s on a hill 600 ft above sea level so I would say they are pretty hardy !
  • ManderMander Posts: 348
    I have a small shrub that I propagated from the one that was in front of my husband's childhood home for decades. It's managed to survive in a large pot outside for nearly ten years now. 
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    I’d agree with the others with one small consideration - as long as it’s happy the rest of the year where it is, it will be okay through winter.

    I had to resuscitate mine after it’s first year and move it about the garden a few times until I found where it was happy, and it’s been fine ever since then with zero attention.
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