Cherry laurel, a nice shrub for hedges

Single red cherry laurel berry on a cherry laurel shrub

Cherry laurel is a shrub as attractive in summer as it is in winter.

Key Cherry laurel facts

Name – Prunus laurocerasus
Family – Rosaceae
Type – shrub, bay

 – 3 to 13 feet (1 to 4 m)
Exposure – full sun to shade
Soil – ordinary

Flowering – April
Foliage – evergreen

It bears nice blooms in spring and cute berries in fall.

Planting cherry laurel

Cherry laurel can be planted from October to March with a preference for fall to allow for root development before winter.

If you’re planting in spring, you’ll need to remember to water more often at the beginning.

  • Cherry laurel prefers sunny spots but tolerates part sun.
  • Dig a hole more or less 20 inches (80 cm) deep and 16 inches (60 cm) wide.
  • Amend the dirt from your garden with planting soil mix.
  • Position the cherry laurel so that the base of the trunk is slightly higher than ground level.
  • Backfill with the mix of soil and soil mix.
  • Water and press down lightly.
  • Water again.

Cherry laurel hedge

Cherry laurel is a shrub particularly well-suited to setting up an evergreen hedge.

In the hedge, place the base of each stem at least 32 inches (80 cm) to 3 feet (1 meter) apart.

Pruning and caring for cherry laurel

Easy to care for, resilient and vigorous, cherry laurel requires very little care, especially when it is already well settled in.

Cherry laurel is a shrub that is easy to prune, especially if part of a hedge.

Diseases and parasites that attack cherry laurel

Even though it is considered to be one of the most sturdy and disease-resistant shrubs, cherry laurel might occasionally have weaknesses, especially as regards parasites.

From time to time aphids and more rarely scale insects try to settle in but it is quite rare and damages are often contained.

Cherry laurel is more vulnerable to shot-hole powdery mildew and verticillium wilt (Verticillium albo-atrum).

  • You can apply preventive treatment against powdery mildew with Bordeaux mixture.

As for verticillium wilt, cherry laurel leaves turn brown, dry up and fall off.

  • You must remove and destroy those parts of the cherry laurel that are infected.
  • If it is on one shrub of a hedge, destroy the shrub so as to not let the disease spread to the remaining cherry laurel shrubs.
  • Treat with fungicide after that.

Learn more about cherry laurel

Cherry laurel, also called “prunus” or “common laurel” numbers over 200 subspecies.

It is hardy and adapts perfectly to hedges of any shape thanks to its dark green and opaque foliage and distinctive white flowers.

It is one of those shrubs that grow very fast and can reach over 16 feet (5 m) tall when mature. If you fear it might grow too large, choose dwarf varieties, there are also a great number of those.

To grow cherry laurel in pots, you must select one of these dwarf varieties, for instance ‘Otto Luycken’, ‘Mount Vernon’ or ‘Piri’.

Cherry laurel is often called common laurel, surely because it grows almost everywhere.

Toxicity of cherry laurel

Poisoning emergency centers know that cherry laurel presents toxic compounds, especially for animals that might ingest leaves, berries or branches.

Indeed, cherry laurel releases cyanide, which can lead to fatal food poisoning for herbivores. Animals such as sheep, cows, goats and horses must be prohibited from eating cherry laurel.

If ever an animal has ingested massive amounts, get in touch with your veterinarian immediately, even before clinical symptoms appear.

Smart tip about cherry laurel

Better to prune well at the end of the season, so as to keep the spring blooming intact.

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