Native to the Iberian Peninsula, Prunus lusitanica (Portugal Laurel) is a beautiful, large evergreen shrub or small tree with dark brown bark, glossy dark green, leathery leaves (5 in. long or 12 cm), and stems of a lovely deep rhubarb color. It is decorated in late spring or early summer with a profusion of pretty racemes of fragrant, tiny white flowers, which are followed by small red cherries that ripen to dark-purple by fall. While the ripe berries should not be consumed, birds will strip them all once they are ripe. Portugal Laurel is a superb plant for hedges, screens and windbreaks.
- Grows up with a dense, spreading, bushy habit to 25 ft. tall (7.5 m) and 15 ft. wide (4.5 m)
- Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society and winner of the Gold Medal Award of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
- A full sun or part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soils. Thrives on poor, shallow, chalky soils too. Portugal laurel is slightly slower growing than cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana), but more tolerant of heat, sun, wind and drought.
- Perfect as a specimen plant, for hedges or screens and in shrub borders.
- Deer resistant!
- Low maintenance, the leaves of this lovely shrub may be damaged by vine weevil, leaf-mining moths or powdery mildews
- Propagate by softwood cuttings in early summer
- Leaves and fruit may be harmful if ingested