I sent this question in last week and have not received an answer yet. The question was submitted to Beth _____. I have a 3' potted bay leaf that's been inside (OHIO) all winter. Some of the leaves are turning brown and dropping off. What is causing this and what can I do about it?
This has been a long cold winter and your Bay Laurel may be showing signs of the dry indoor air. Bay trees should be potted in pots that can retain some moisture and with a good container potting mix that will also retain some moisture. Avoid terracotta pots because they can dry out too fast. Bay trees need bright light when indoors and you must avoid drafts or hotspots like heating vents. Don't fertilize until spring and if you can, move your tree outside when the weather is warmer and the danger of frost and cold temperatures is past. It needs a sheltered, shady spot outside.
Your bay tree may be drying out in the low humidity of your home. It signals this by dropping a few leaves. You might try increasing the humidity around your plant by misting and watching the soil moisture carefully. You don't want it sitting in water but make sure you are watering thoroughly when you water.
Here is a nice article on growing Bays: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=d418
Also look for signs of scale, mealy bugs or spider mites. These are pests that can infest Bays indoors.
The good news is spring is on its way and and soon humidity will increase indoors and out. If you have additional questions, please feel free to email again.
Thanks for letting us help you.