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Prunus laurocerasus (Cherry Laurel)

English Laurel, Cherry Laurel, Laurel Cherry, Versailles Laurel, Common Laurel

Prunus laurocerasus, English Laurel, Cherry Laurel, Laurel Cherry, Versailles Laurel, Common Laurel, Evergreen Shrub, Evergreen Tree, Fragrant Shrub, Fragrant Tree
Prunus laurocerasus, English Laurel, Cherry Laurel, Laurel Cherry, Versailles Laurel, Common Laurel, Evergreen Shrub, Evergreen Tree, Fragrant Shrub, Fragrant Tree

Commonly known as Cherry Laurel or English Laurel, Prunus laurocerasus is a vigorous, broad, spreading evergreen shrub prized for its dense, glossy foliage and creamy-white flowers.

Prunus laurocerasus: An In-depth Look

Cherry Laurel belongs to the Prunus genus, including apricot, cherry, peach, or almond trees.

Native: Native to regions bordering the Black Sea in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia.

Plant Type and Habit: Cherry Laurel is an evergreen shrub with a dense, spreading habit.

Size: Typically grows 15-30 feet tall and wide (4.5 to 9 meters), depending on the cultivar and growing conditions.

Flowers and Fruits: Produces small, creamy-white flowers arranged in upright racemes, 5 inches long (12 cm) in late spring to early summer. Rich with a strong plum fragrance, the flowers are followed by small, cherry-like, red fruits turning purple-black when ripe.

Foliage: Has large, glossy, dark green leaves, 6 inches long (15 cm), that are leathery to the touch.

Bark: The bark is dark gray, smooth when young, and develops fissures with age.

Uses: Cherry Laurel is widely used in landscaping as hedges, privacy screens, windbreaks, or standalone ornamental plants. Also used for topiary and foundation plantings.

Hardiness: Generally hardy in USDA zones 6-9.

Wildlife: The flowers provide nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, while the fruits are a food source for birds. Cherry Laurel is a larval host plant to Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Toxicity: This plant has high-severity poison characteristics. All parts, particularly the leaves and seeds, contain cyanogenic glycosides and are toxic to people and pets if ingested.

Deer and Rabbit: Moderately resistant to deer and rabbits.

Drought Tolerance: Once established, it has moderate drought tolerance.

Salt Tolerance: Cherry Laurel has a moderate tolerance to salt. It can withstand some level of salt in the soil or from coastal salt spray, but it is not as tolerant as some other species that are specifically adapted to high-salt environments.

Invasiveness: In some regions, particularly in the U.S., it is considered invasive and can displace native vegetation. Find where Cherry Laurel is invasive in the U.S.

Cherry Laurel Growing Tips

Light: Prefers full sun to partial shade but tolerates heavy shade. More sunlight encourages denser foliage and better flowering. However, these shrubs benefit from increased shade in warmer regions.

Soil: Thrives in well-drained, fertile soil. Tolerates a range of soil types, including clay, sand, and loam. This plant is tolerant of alkaline soils, dry and poor soils.

Water: Regular watering is essential, especially for young plants. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Fertilizer: Apply a balanced fertilizer in spring to encourage growth. Additional feeding may be beneficial during the growing season.

Pruning: Prune as needed after flowering. Regular trimming is important for hedges to encourage dense growth.

Propagation: Propagate by semi-ripe cuttings from late summer to fall or hardwood cuttings from late fall to late winter; propagate by seed in fall.

Pests/Diseases: Susceptible to shot-hole disease, powdery mildew, and root rot. Pests such as aphids and scale insects can occasionally be an issue. Plant spacing is crucial for hedge plants to ensure proper air circulation and reduce disease risk.

Requirements

Hardiness 6 - 9
Heat Zones 6 - 10
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus - Flowering Cherry Tree
Common names English Laurel, Cherry Laurel
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' - 30'
(4.6m - 9.1m)
Spread 15' - 30'
(4.6m - 9.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Traditional 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 caroliniana (Carolina Cherry Laurel)
Prunus serotina (Black Cherry)
Prunus americana (American Plum)

Recommended Companion Plants

Galanthus (Snowdrop)
Helleborus (Hellebore)
Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea)

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
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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 6 - 9
Heat Zones 6 - 10
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus - Flowering Cherry Tree
Common names English Laurel, Cherry Laurel
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' - 30'
(4.6m - 9.1m)
Spread 15' - 30'
(4.6m - 9.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Traditional 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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