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Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Cherry Laurel)

Carolina Cherry-laurel, Cherry-laurel, Laurel Cherry, Carolina Laurel Cherry, Laurocerasus caroliniana

Prunus caroliniana, Carolina Cherry-laurel, Cherry-laurel, Laurel Cherry, Carolina Laurel Cherry, Laurocerasus caroliniana, Evergreen Shrub, Evergreen Tree, Fragrant Shrub, Fragrant Tree
Prunus caroliniana, Carolina Cherry-laurel, Cherry-laurel, Laurel Cherry, Carolina Laurel Cherry, Laurocerasus caroliniana, Evergreen Shrub, Evergreen Tree, Fragrant Shrub, Fragrant Tree

Attractive and fast-growing, Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Cherry Laurel) is a dense evergreen shrub or small tree of pyramidal-oval habit with smooth, glossy dark green leaves, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm), with pointed tips. The leaves and stems emit an almond scent when bruised. From late winter to mid-spring, a profusion of sweetly fragrant, tiny white flowers held in dense racemes, 2-3 in. long (5-7 cm), appear among the leaves. They attract bees and other pollinating insects. They are followed by small, fleshy, reddish-purple cherries that ripen to shiny black by fall and persist through winter. While the ripe berries should not be consumed, birds will strip them all once they are ripe. Smooth in youth, the bark becomes more irregular with age, dark gray to almost black. Prunus caroliniana is a superb plant for hedges, screens, and windbreaks.

  • Grows up to 20-30 ft. tall (600-900 cm) and 15-25 ft. wide (450-750 cm). Will self-seed in the landscape.
  • A full sun or part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in moist, well-drained soils. Drought tolerant once established. Prolonged soil saturation can cause root rot, particularly in clay soils. Shallow, nutrient-poor, rocky soils can cause chlorosis and heat stress.
  • Perfect as a specimen plant, for hedges or screens, and in shrub borders. Great for coastal areas.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for borers and mites. Deer resistant.
  • Carolina Cherry Laurel does not like being severely pruned.
  • Propagate by seed, semi-hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings.
  • This plant has high severity poison characteristics. Seeds, twigs, and leaves may be harmful if ingested.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses, toxic to humans.
  • Native to the Southern United States, from coastal Virginia to northern Florida, west to Louisiana.

Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 10
Climate Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus - Flowering Cherry Tree
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Spread 15' - 25'
(4.6m - 7.6m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Southwest, Southeast, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Texas
Tolerance Drought, Deer
Attracts Bees, Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Prunus mume (Plum Blossom)
Prunus x cistena (Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry)
Prunus ilicifolia (Hollyleaf Cherry)
Prunus serotina (Black Cherry)
Prunus americana (American Plum)
Prunus ‘Snow Fountains’ (Weeping Cherry)

Recommended Companion Plants

Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange Blossom)
Cotoneaster horizontalis (Rock Cotoneaster)
Rosa ‘Iceberg’ (Floribunda Rose)
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Dwarf Plumbago)
Coreopsis grandiflora (Large Flower Tickseed)
Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf Tickseed)
Helictotrichon sempervirens (Blue Oat Grass)
Cerastium tomentosum (Snow in Summer)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

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Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry Blossom)
Prunus pendula (Weeping Cherry Blossom)
Prunus x subhirtella (Higan Cherry)
Prunus serrulata (Japanese Cherry Blossom)
Shrubs and Trees with Attractive Winter Bark
Great Shrubs with Berries for Winter Interest for New England
Late Season Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Midseason Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Early Season Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Blooming Seasons of Cherry Blossom Trees
Fragrant Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Flowering Cherry Trees with Attractive Fall Colors
Favorite Weeping Cherry Blossoms for Your Garden
Which Cherry Blossom Tree for my Garden?
Pretty Cherry Blossom Trees for Your Garden
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 7 - 10
Climate Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus - Flowering Cherry Tree
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Spread 15' - 25'
(4.6m - 7.6m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Southwest, Southeast, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Texas
Tolerance Drought, Deer
Attracts Bees, Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Prunus (Cherry Tree)
Not sure which Prunus (Cherry Tree) to pick?
Compare Now

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