Bay Laurel is the Sweet bay laurel tree which has been grown as long as historical records have been kept. It is a small tree which grows to about 15-20 feet tall in mild climates. It grows very slowly, as most trees do, gaining only about 1 foot each year. This is an ideal plant to grow in a large container for the first 5 years of its life and if you live in an area where the winters are mild (above 25 degrees in winter) you can plant them outdoors. Otherwise just leave it in the pot and bring it indoors during the winter. Do not give this plant too much water, it needs very little - especially in the wintertime.
To use the Bay Laurel leaves you can pull individual leaves off the sides of the stem. Cutting off the tip will create branching which will make a fuller shrub type plant. You will not notice the scent of Bay Laurel until you cook the leaves, the flavor is stored in the leaf and not strong until the oils are released in the pot.
For cooking, keep in mind that fresh Bay is stronger than the dried leaves so don't overdo it. Use one leaf in stews, pot roasts, spaghetti sauces, and more.