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Portugal laurel, a nice hedge shrub

Prunus lusitanica - Portugal laurel

Portugal laurel is a beautiful evergreen shrub with deep dark green leaves.

Key Portugal laurel facts

NamePrunus lusitanica
Family – Rosaceae
Type – shrub, bay

Height – 6½ to 20 feet (2 to 6 meters)
Exposure – full sun

Foliage – evergreen – Flowering – spring – Fruits – fall (inedible)

It bears nice blooms in summer and colored berries in fall and winter.

Ideal for hedges, it is also particularly well-suited to growing in pots or as as a standalone.

Planting Portugal laurel

Portugal laurel, Prunus lusitanica , is planted in fall or in spring as long as it doesn’t freeze.

  • Portugal laurel appreciates full sun exposure but still tolerates part shade.
  • A blend of soil mix and garden soil is perfectly appropriate.
  • In a hedge, provide for enough space between specimens, about 3 feet (1 meter), so that your Prunus lusitanica can grow without suffocating.
  • Regularly water over the 1st year after planting.
  • Follow our guidelines on planting trees here at Nature-and-Garden.

Propagating Portugal laurel

Cuttings in summer are well-suited and usually successful with Portugal laurel. Select softwood stems for the cuttings.

Pruning Portugal laurel

Caring and pruning Portugal laurel - Prunus lusitanicaIt isn’t really necessary to prune, if only to balance the tree if needed after the blooming or at the end of winter.

However, Portugal laurel seems to have been created for the art of topiary and it is very easy to have it grow in any shape you wish.

  • Prune in May or June depending on the climate, just before flowering
  • Pruning once a year is enough to keep a nice silhouette.

Portugal laurel bare and scrappy spots

If your shrub is starting to grow more on one side and has bare spots on another, it’s best to thin the shrub. This will restore light to the center of the shrub. Thinning means removing branches from the shrub until you can almost “see through” it.

  • Use sharp, clean shears and a lopper for thicker branches. A small pruning saw may be useful, too.
  • Disinfect tools before and after to avoid spreading diseases.
  • Remove dead or wounded branches, if any, before proceeding.

How to thin Portugal laurel

  • Select up to four of the longest branches, chosen evenly from around the tree (one per cardinal direction for example, North, South, East, West).
  • Prune these off at a Y-junction about two-thirds into the tree, leaving the other, weaker Y-branch connected to the trunk.
  • Repeat with a new batch of now-longest branches, this time only going halfway to the center.
  • Repeat again with the last batch of longest branches, but only going one-third inwards.

All in all, you should leave about two-thirds of the tree untouched, hence the “up to four”.

  • Smaller trees would only have one or two branches removed at each stage, in total 3 to 6 “cuts”.
  • Larger trees may cope with three or four, leading to up to 12 cuts.

In doing this, the size of the tree is reduced. Light finds its way back to the center of the tree. New branches can sprout from buds on the upper trunk and main branches. This will fill the tree in and eliminate bare spots. Also, plants underneath get more light.

  • The strongest, most vigorous branches are cut back. Their vigor will trigger new buds and branches below the cut. That’s why we go deeper into the tree on the most vigorous branches.
  • It’s important to cut a branch off at a Y-junction, not straight off. Poor pruning will result in a hat-racked tree that is not as elegant and weakens the tree.

Six months later you can repeat the process to reach an even better result.

Learn more about Portugal laurel

Blooming Portugal laurelAs its name shows, this laurel is native to Portugal, and is sometimes goes by the name “Portugal plum tree”.

Prunus lusitanica is part of Prunus genus, section Laurocerasus (like cherry laurel) which itself is part of the Rosaceae family.

It grows in the wild along the Atlantic coast of Portugal and also in the north-west of Africa. The life of a Portugal laurel can span a few decades, usually reaching 25 to 30 years old.

It carries evergreen leaves that are a beautiful dark green, and are wavy around the edges which makes for a very ornamental impact.

Its white-colored blooming appears in summer, during the months of May or June depending on the climate and can extend over many long weeks.

Finally, Portugal laurel will bear cute berries which our bird friends will find delectable. They start out looking like little red cherries that afterwards turn black.

  • Important: leaves of Portugal laurel are toxic. They contain a compound similar to cyanide. Berries are also dangerous when green and light red (very bitter), but become edible when black. They’re not very good, though.

Smart tip about Portugal laurel

To avoid weed growth and retain water needed for its growth, spread mulch at the base of the tree in spring and repeat this every year.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Blooming Portugal laurel shrub, white flowers by Donaleen under © CC BY 2.0

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  • Peter Campbell wrote on 5 June 2024 at 4 h 50 min

    Hi there I have a mature a Portuguese laurel about 2 metres in height and about 10 yrs old that I want to re-plant into a half wine barrel.
    Is there any reason I cannot do this
    Appreciate your advice
    Kind Regards

  • Olga wrote on 14 May 2022 at 10 h 57 min

    Hello, have some Portuguese laurels in my garden, planted 2 years ago. All trees are fine, just would like them to grow a little bit faster due to the protective position. There are now going to bloom, full of buds. Will they grow faster if I remove buds? Just thought that it takes some energy to bloom perhaps if I remove it this energy go to leaves. Thanks

    • Gaspard wrote on 14 May 2022 at 13 h 00 min

      Yes, they will produce new leaves and branches instead of flowers. It’s a good idea to speed up the growing. Additionally, since flowers bloom on tips, you’ll be encouraging the branches to split into several branches, which will make growth more lush and dense than before.

      • Olga wrote on 14 May 2022 at 15 h 26 min

        Hello, Gaspard, Many thanks for your response, really appreciate it!

  • Kieran wrote on 22 April 2022 at 7 h 54 min

    With the ‘lollipop’ variety; is there a way to restrict the height of the truck so as to control the overall height it can reach?

    • Gaspard wrote on 22 April 2022 at 9 h 54 min

      Hi Kieran, sure! Actually, when they talk about the ‘lollipop’, it isn’t as much a variety as a way of pruning. Kind of like cloud-pruning, except there’s only one round cloud! Many different trees can be used to grow into lollipop shapes.

      So the way to go to keep it from growing taller is to diligently prune it. This is the only way to control its growth. Keep the shape as round as you can, and prune any excess growth off. May is the best time to prune, but you can take a look at the shrub after the blooming: if any vigorous stems are shooting out, cut them short deep inside the sphere: they’ll split into two branches and make the lollipop even more lush.

      Also, if it’s in a pot, remember to re-pot it with fresh soil mix every 2-3 years, otherwise it’ll lose leaves and look scrawny and bare.

  • Anita wrote on 11 September 2021 at 16 h 40 min

    I have a row of about 12 Portuguese Laurel trees that I planted last year in raised beds/boxes (they are in the ground but we have a lot of rock underneath). Half are in full sun and half in partial shade. All are growing well except one in the very middle which appears to be about 2 feet shorter than the rest. The spacing is the same between them all, the only difference I can see is that the neighbour has another tall shrub right behind it, on the other side of the fence. However, the other trees adjacent to it are not affected at all, and you would think if shade was the issue, they would be slightly shorter as well. The trees all look healthy, I’m not sure what the issue could be and if I need to do anything to help. The trees are watered every other day in the summer with our sprinkler, and each tree has an individual line of slow flowing water to it. Any advice would be much appreciated. I should say that the tree definitely grew since we planed it last year, just not as much. I’ve taken pictures of it this summer to compare the growth next year.

    • Gaspard wrote on 12 September 2021 at 10 h 14 min

      It’s a good thing you took pictures, it’s always interesting to turn back and see how things have evolved. A single shorter tree is an oddity, to be honest. If it were transplant shock that weakened the tree, then probably more than a single one would have been affected. As you say, shade alone would influence several trees.

      I think the answer to this puzzle is what might be happening underground, not above ground. Perhaps there’s a bit of a war going on between the root systems of adjacent trees. This would explain why the Portuguese laurel that is right by the neighbor’s shrub is having more trouble: their feeding zones overlap, whereas other laurel trees to the side are further off and don’t have the competition. To counter this, my suggestion would be to feed this shrub a bit more fertilizer than you would others – and if you don’t fertilize (which is fine for this species), then to just give this particular tree a little something extra, like a small batch of fermented tea or the like.

      Another possible reason (albeit remote, I agree) is that there might be some type of piping or tube running across the property at exactly this spot. I’ve seen this as an explanation before, it was simply a pipe to evacuate gray waters from the house, but it had leached minute amounts of whatever cleaning products the owner used into the soil and this had marked a line across the entire garden, only visible by the shrubs it affected! But since your underground seems to be pure rock, then this isn’t very likely.

  • Simon Gooch wrote on 19 August 2021 at 18 h 32 min

    Hello there, I have a series of Portuguese Laurel plants that all have a single main stem and rather small branches coming out from them, they look quite tall and thin (some getting up to 6ft), but they are not growing outwards to provide the hedge density I want to give us privacy in our garden. I bought them as mature specimens and planted them I4 months ago. They don’t show signs of stress, seem to be growing, but just mainly the main stem upwards (some look a bit untidy with parts of the stem bare and others heavy woth small branches) instead of lateral branches outwards. Have I accidentally purchased a single stem variety that won’t actually ever provide the bushiness I want, or is there action I can take? Some are underneath quite large sycamore teees so are in semi shade, others more exposed and in full sun.Thank you so much!

    • Gaspard wrote on 20 August 2021 at 7 h 07 min

      Hi Simon, what you need to do is cut the top of the shrubs, all at the same height, say 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall. This will break “apical dominance”, which is the fact that as long as the main leader stem is there, most of the growth goes to it. It’s why trees tend to grow tall instead of wide. Once the tip is cut, side branches will start growing much more than before. Then it’s all a question of pruning and trimming. Basically, with Portugal laurel, whenever you cut the tip of a branch, the next two or three buds down will sprout into new branches. You can use this information to trigger branching out in places where there isn’t yet much growth.

      Though there are some different varieties that react differently, normally in the garden store they would have stopped you if what you were buying were definitely not suitable for hedging. No worries there.

      Shade or no shade shouldn’t change the growing much. You’ll have slightly less flowers in the shade, though. Just keep caring for them as you have, and keep your secateur at hand to prune off tips whenever you feel a stem has grown too long, and your hedge will thicken in no time! Once you’ve made sure branches populate densely the whole growing area, you can switch to a mechanized hedge trimmer to smooth growth out.

      • Simon Gooch wrote on 20 August 2021 at 19 h 05 min

        That’s so helpful. Is there any significance to the height you suggest cutting the tip of the main stem, or can it be any height? How quickly should I notice a difference do you think?

      • Gaspard wrote on 21 August 2021 at 4 h 14 min

        No, not really, just that in the end, for your hedge to be nice and full at the top, it’s best to have several stems branching up that are themselves divided at least a few times. So if you’d want a 6-foot or 1.8 meter hedge, cutting the stem off at 4 ft (1.2m) will give enough space for two or three “divides” before the ultimate height is reached.

        As for speed, everything depends on the growing, of course. There’s going to be another growth spurt starting now (end of summer till mid-fall), so you’re going to see some great results, but the hedge will only truly be lush and dense in around 2 years. After all, you need lots of growth and division, and portuguese laurel can give you a foot or so a year, but since you’re shaping it some of that growth is lost. But it’s very gratifying to see the result of your selective pruning!

  • Joanne Admiraal wrote on 11 May 2021 at 18 h 16 min

    My Portuguese Laurels have been in Large pots for 3 yrs since buying. They’re a lovely couple of clipped trees, but one has had several brown mid-brown/rust coloured) patches arriving. I’ve sprayed a few times with neem removing the brown leaves and destroying but they are still appearing. Any advice welcome.

    • Gaspard wrote on 19 May 2021 at 14 h 57 min

      Hi Joanne, it might be a variety of diseases, most probably fungus. Perhaps the nutrients in the potting soil are depleted, which would weaken the plant’s immune system in time. It’s normal for potted plants, since plants consume elements, and rain and watering also washes some out.

      The immune system in plants is boosted with the “K” element in NPK fertilizer: potassium. Try finding a fertilizer that has a higher level of K than of N and P (nitrogen and phosphorus). What would also be excellent would be to make a batch of weedy tea and use that diluted in water to water the portugal laurels. Horsetail tea would treat the fungus well, and comfrey tea seriously boosts the immune system. These two together might very do the trick!

      Also, if the pot is too large to repot, perhaps you could look into topdressing, it might be applicable. It might help replenish a few of the deplete nutrients.

      I’m putting my bet on the lack of nutrients because three years is the time it takes for soil to loose virtually all the nutrients it had at the start. If watering or drainage were responsible, the problem would have appeared much earlier.

  • Oona McOuat wrote on 20 April 2021 at 6 h 53 min


    We purchased 6 small Portuguese Laurel from a local nursery. After my husband planted them three weeks ago, he mentioned they were extremely tightly root bound, but he left them as they were – did not tease the balls open – before putting them in the ground. Yesterday I noticed their leaves are starting to turn dark brown/black. It has been unseasonably warm for the past week and they are in full southern exposure sun so i am thinking this might be partially sunburn. (I will cover them with remay tomorrow.) We have been watering them once a week and they are mulched. Do you think I should gently dig them up and tease open the root balls at this point or will this just cause them further stress? Thank You!

    • Gaspard wrote on 23 April 2021 at 3 h 33 min

      Hi Oona, the fact that it’s root bound isn’t the main reason for the turning dark: this seems like a typical case of transplant shock. The tight root ball might have kept most of the water from seeping in, though. In the nursery, the pots are drenched and sometimes even dunked in vats for watering, which is very different from simply watering from the top. As you hopefully did already, covering them with a shade net is a great idea.

      However, having a rootbound rootball means issues in the future: as the plants grow, the main roots thicken and will start to strangle each other. And in a few year’s time, your shrub will start having trouble, grow more slowly and become vulnerable to pests (though portugal laurel is rather resistant in general).

      Perhaps you and your husband could do as suggested and try to spread the roots out like a web or a star instead. It is an extra stress but you can compensate by watering more often, say every other day for the season unless it rains. In the long term it would help the plant and makes it easier to fight transplant shock. Mulching is good of course, just sweep it aside and put it back afterwards. Hope this helps!

  • James wrote on 6 March 2021 at 1 h 33 min

    I’m in the Pacific NW, near Vancouver Canada and have a portuguese laurel hedge that’s only about 5 feet tall. I’d like to get it as tall as possible as quickly as possible (ideally 25 feet). Any tips?

    • Gaspard wrote on 23 March 2021 at 11 h 55 min

      Hi James, Portugal laurel can grow to 25 feet, but that’s about the tallest I’ve ever seen it grow ; usually it’ll reach 20 feet and then only gain a handful of inches a year. To help it grow tall fast, best is to make sure you mulch the base (across the entire drip line, not only around the trunk). Second, fertilize the tree with a natural fertilizer. Ideally, try to find a different type of fertilizer year after year: this will maximize soil health and nutrients. For instance, you could quickly prepare a batch of fermented weed tea, then in Fall spread some dead leaves, next Spring go for powdered bone, coffee grounds

      For height specifically, you might want to shorten side branches to favor up-growing shoots, too.

  • Adrian Cross wrote on 3 February 2021 at 19 h 16 min

    I have some 8-10cm girth Portuguese Laurel standards planted in November (now February) which are 3.5m high. They are still fairly leggy and not at all dense. Will they get much more dense as they grow and how long will this take?
    Also when is the fastest growing period? They have not really grown at all over winter.

    • Gaspard wrote on 4 February 2021 at 11 h 18 min

      Winter is a time where plants grow roots more than they grow leaves and branches. So most of the growth is underground at this point, all the more so since they were recently transplanted. Spring and Autumn are the two seasons where growth is fastest, Spring of course being the most vigorous. They will grow dense in time, but you can trigger branching out by cutting branch tips every time they grow 6 inches/15 cm long. Just snip the last bud, and instead of having one sprig, two or more will sprout out from side buds. Every time you do this, you’ll double the density. Naturally, this would take three or four years to get a nice, dense tree, but if you snip buds often, you’ll get it in two.

  • Tulluk87 wrote on 2 June 2020 at 22 h 47 min

    Hi Gaspard,
    I was wondering if I could get some advice, I have recently planted a lovely Prunus Luistanica hedge.
    It’s about 3 weeks old and I have been giving it a good soak every 1-2 (now I, not sure if this is too much) I live in Scotland and it has been unseasonably hot 20-25 degrees and the leaves are starting to yellow.
    Could this be a sign of overwatering or something else? Do they lose leaves overtime anyway?
    Is there any feed you can suggest?

    Thanks, not sure how much watering is correct!

    • Gaspard wrote on 5 June 2020 at 10 h 39 min

      Hi Tulluk, sounds like a possible case of transplant shock. In this case, leaves will start yellowing out from the edges towards the inside, and feel rather crispy at the edges. To protect the plants, cover it with a shade veil for about a month (even a low % shade will work). Make sure mulch keeps moisture in at the foot but keep the root crown clear. As mentioned in that article, sugar water can help the plant recover, no need for any other type of fertilizer at this point it might burn the nascent roots.

      There is, however, a risk of overwatering, especially if you’ve watered a lot every couple days and the soil doesn’t drain well. Are the yellowing leaves rather flimsy and soft, and yellowing from the inside out? If yes, it’s a possible sign of root rot starting off. The trick there is to only water when absolutely necessary. Heat isn’t the only consideration, there’s also soil: some soil types like clay tend to trap moisture in. If you have such soil and haven’t factored in a layer of drainage gravel, your plants are at risk. To save them, clear the root collar around the tree and let the soil dry out. Only water when you see the soil is dusty dry down to an inch or two (rake topsoil off to reach that point, test, and then put it back). And when you do water, add a bit of fungus-fighting fermented weed tea (horsetail is good for that). This dusty finger test is what should dictate your watering.

  • Gloria Gawa wrote on 23 April 2020 at 20 h 40 min

    Was thinking of planting 5 Portugal laurels as a hedge between neighbors. The spot where I need to put it is on a gradual slope with rocky soil near oak trees. It’s very windy in our area and was hoping it would also stop leaves from neighbor blowing over. Do you think this would work for this situation?

    • Gaspard wrote on 24 April 2020 at 10 h 44 min

      Hi Gloria, yes, this would work fairly well. The slope is good for drainage, meaning the trees won’t suffer from root rot or similar diseases. If you feel there’s more rocks than soil, then it might be a good idea to add soil to make a low raised garden. Just a few inches (about 10 cm) should be enough. Logs or rocks lined up can keep the soil in.

      Maybe some leaves will still flutter down on your side, but thanks to the wind they’ll surely be rounded up in a corner or in a pile. They’ll be much easier to rake up.

      Lastly, in a way, all those “free leaves” might be considered a nice gift from your neighbor: dead leaf mulch is one of the best things you can do for flower beds and shrubs!

  • Sandie wrote on 31 July 2019 at 4 h 01 min

    Can you tell me how long Portuguese Laurel live? Mine are 13 years old and are starting to look scrappy and bare in some places. Thank you (I live in New Zealand.)

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 1 August 2019 at 11 h 03 min

      Hello Sandie, normally Portugal laurel lives for two or three decades, so yours would only be at half its lifespan.

      If it’s starting to look lopsided, what you can do is thin the branches to let light filter through to the center. This will trigger new branching from the trunk there. Usually a shrub will focus all its efforts where it gets most light, neglecting less “profitable” sections. Thinning restores balance.

  • Vivian wrote on 11 June 2019 at 8 h 17 min

    Have a Portugal Laurel that was in its pot, root bound for too long. It has lost a lot of leaves. It’s in the ground now, what can I do to encourage the plant to fill in with leaves?

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 11 June 2019 at 20 h 14 min

      Hello Vivian! It a good thing your Portugal laurel has more legroom now. First of all, don’t despair: it might take a short while for your tree to start growing again. This is due to transplant shock, which usually results in blocking growth for a week or two.

      To help your portugal laurel overcome it, you can do the following:
      – water abundantly for the first few weeks, perhaps twice a week (unless the soil still looks wet).
      – spread mulch at the foot of the tree, especially plant mulch. Layer it thick, about 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm). It will settle down to about half that within a few weeks.
      – if your Portugal laurel was in full sun, no problem, but if it was in the shade and is now in full sun, best cover it with a partially opaque horticultural fleece. These have ratings of 60%, 80%, etc which show how much sun they block out. Make shade for your shrub with this during the hotter hours of the day for about a week. This reduces risk of sunburn.

      Read more tips on transplant shock to get it perfect!

  • Jason wrote on 2 June 2019 at 21 h 04 min


    I have a question, I have recently purchase one of these, I’m not sure how old it is, but I’d say it’s approx 10 Feet in height with a bushy top part of approx. 5 Feet.
    The stem is approx 4.5 inches thick. Will it need staking for stability?

    Thank you 🙏

  • Robin Thompson wrote on 29 March 2019 at 7 h 48 min

    Hello. I have a question about trimming our Portugal laurel. We live in Southern Oregon and Spring has just arrived. The Portugal laurel bushes that grow alongside our bungalow have reached well above roof level (20 ft.) and we want to trim them back to a more manageable size. Is this a good time to trim them? (Before they start growing again.) And how far down can we trim them? Can we take them down to about 6 – 10 ft. without damaging them. We also want to trim them back a bit from our neighbor’s walkway, narrowing their width. What do you think?

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 30 March 2019 at 13 h 12 min

      Hello Robin. I’m afraid it still gets a bit cold with last frost dates in Oregon still a way off. Wait until May to trim them. It might freeze a bit then, but not as much and it won’t jeopardize the plant.

      Portugal laurel is a very vigorous plant, and you can trim it back quite a lot.

      Since this tree tends to grow tall, and you’re never sure how it will be maintained in the future, I advise against hat racking.

      Best is to prune it carefully, over the course of two or three years. Each year, remove one in three of the branches you want to get rid of, just at a joint where it splits with a smaller branch. Then, also cut back the remaining tallest branches by about a third. You’ll gradually be reducing the size of the tree. It’s possible to “shrink” your Portugal laurel down to 6 feet in this manner, reaching that size at year three. What’s important is to find ways to leave a “leader” branch, a smaller one that will take up growth, as you cut the larger, taller branch off.

      It’s also fine to reduce width to give your neighbors more space, that’s very thoughtful of you.

  • Samantha wrote on 20 September 2018 at 15 h 19 min


    I have 4 pleached Portuguese Laurel, 3 are dark green and growing, the fourth was but over 2 months all the leaves have turned brown. I have watered and fed the tree exactly the same as the others. Is there anything I can do to save the tree? Many thanks.

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 24 September 2018 at 10 h 22 min

      Dear Samantha, it seems that your pleached Portugal laurel is in dire shape! But it doesn’t necessarily mean that all is done for, since the laurel bunch is a resilient family. Next spring is when we’ll know for sure.
      If the leaves all turned brown at once, with no spotting or sign of disease, I guess the pleaching took a toll and when stressed somewhat, the plant decided to shed its leaves and hibernate. If you’ve transplanted/purchased them earlier this summer or late spring, it may be that this particular tree suffered more than the other three, or that is was weaker as a specimen. Sometimes simply being laid at the top of the trailer during transportation is enough to shock and kill off roots, for example, or perhaps it was the last to be set in the ground on that (hot?) day. It may be that the end and last place in the row is slightly more exposed to either sun or wind, too.
      Your best course of action now is to protect it best you can for the winter: mulch around the base, wrap the trunk up with a layer of bubble-wrap or horticultural fleece (loose fit to enable air circulation within the sleeve). Fingers crossed now!

  • Mrs Margaret Smith wrote on 27 August 2018 at 16 h 27 min

    Hello Gaspard—thank you so much for your considered and very helpful reply to my query re our Portugal Laurel. In answer to your questions:

    1. We think the shrub is about 8 years old, so maybe it is, as you say, waiting to be 10 years old !
    2.It is planted on the semi-shade side but will be moved soon to nearer the fence, because it is growing very tall !—so maybe more restriction on its area may help.
    3. The soil is good—I’ve dug it many times over the years and it is quite friable.

    So-we’ll move it soon and see what happens.

    Thanks again, you’ve been very helpful.

  • Mrs Margaret Smith wrote on 26 August 2018 at 13 h 34 min

    We’ve had a Prunus Lusitanica for several years-it’s very healthy looking, glossy leaves good growth each year, BUT-it has never had flowers/berries–why is this happening please ?

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 27 August 2018 at 7 h 05 min

      Dear Mrs Smith, there may be several possible explanations:

      • > Young age: some species of the prunus family only bear fruit after 10 years of age, even though others are faster. For Portugal laurel, I would love to be able to give you a confirmed number, I’ve contacted experts who may be more specific. How old is your prunus lusitanica?
      • > Insufficient soil moisture: while Prunus lusitanica loves well-draining soils, it does need considerable amounts of water to feel comfortable enough to bloom. What is your soil like and how do you water?
      • > Pruning and topiary: Portugal laurel will only bloom when “left alone”. Any trimming will induce stress (not lethal at all for this plant) and it will always prioritize leaves over fruits when it can. Do you trim it?
      • > Climate: in some places, spring and summer are too short, since Portugal laurel is a summer-blooming plant, it never quite reaches proper conditions for blooming. Where are you from?

      A last possibility is something I’ve observed in several other cases: when the growing conditions are particularly rich and ideal, a shrub or plant will tend to make the most of it and produce wood and leaves. It would only start flowering once it hits some kind of “obstacle” like neighboring trees or other space limitation, or some form of stress (mild heat wave, drought, pruning) – kind of as if the shock signals it to also think of not putting all its “eggs” in the same basket/location… In this case, the only way to proceed is to let it grow until it reaches some kind of trigger…

      I hope this clarifies the options and helps! Tell me what you think!