Cherry laurel - what kind of plant is it?
Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is a perennial decorative shrub, also known as English laurel and common laurel. Its main varieties originate in the Caucasus. But this plant is also very common on the Balkan Peninsula.
Cherry laurel looks like a combination of laurel and cherry trees. Its leaves closely resemble the first of the mentioned species. The pale, small flowers are nearly identical to the ones appearing on cherries in their blooming season. The name of the shrub probably derives from this fact.
How to use cherry laurel in the garden?
For a long time, cherry laurels were used as a part of larger compositions in backyards, and they were planted along with other plants. English laurel was often planted by shade-loving plants, as its leaves provide perfect protection against excessive sunlight. But this is only one of the possible uses.
Currently, cherry laurel is commonly used for hedges - it’s perfect for this purpose. The lush leaves protect the property against neighbors’ peeks and curious passerby. The fact that they remain green the whole year is a big advantage. Thanks to this, you have a beautiful fencing around your house - all the time.
Cherry laurel - popular types
Although the basic, classic type of cherry laurel is the most popular one, you should know it’s not the only possibility. Experts interested in these shrubs stress that the choice is really wide, as there are about 40 different varieties of cherry laurel. They differ in:
- leaf shape,
- resistance to weather conditions.
Cherry laurel ‘Otto Luyken’
Otto Luyken is known as a dwarf variety of cherry laurel. It’s because it doesn’t grow too tall. Usually, its maximum height is 1 meter. It has characteristic tiny leaves. This type works perfectly as a part of larger compositions, but it probably won’t make a good hedge. Also, planting it is not recommended in colder zones. The variety is not very resistant to frost.
Cherry laurel ‘Rotundifolia’
Rotundifolia cherry laurel is a perfect hedge shrub. With a proper care, it can grow up to 4 or 5 meters tall. Regardless, this variety is quite difficult to take care of, especially directly after planting it. Although it’s resistant to low temperatures, it’s vulnerable to snow during the first years. If you pick this species, make sure to protect it for the first several seasons. In time, it should gain resistance - against stronger frosts and snow.
Cherry laurel ‘Aureovariegata’
Do you want an unusual-looking shrub in your garden? Aureovariegata cherry laurel is a perfect choice. It has very interesting leaves, distinct from other plants of this species. Not only they are intense green, but also have a yellow outline. Although it appears in few gardens, one can observe it’s becoming more and more popular with each year.
Cherry laurel ‘Novita’
Novita is one of the most popular English laurel varieties. It’s known for it hardiness - not only to low temperatures, but also snow. -25°C (-13 F) conditions are not a problem to this plant. This cherry laurel variety has large leaves, perfect for creating hedges.
Cherry laurel ‘Marbled White’
Marbled White is a variety of cherry laurel that thrives when planted in half shade. It’s one of the most durable varieties, as it can endure temperatures up to -20°C (-4°F). You can plant it in the garden, but it’s also a good potted tree for a patio or a balcony. It develops white flowers with a beautiful scent. This variety has characteristic leaves with a delicate white discoloration.
What soil is the best for cherry laurel?
Cherry laurel isn’t a demanding plant, when it comes to the soil. But if you provide it with good conditions, you can be sure that it will grow quicker and better. For this reason, make sure to pick spots with damp, humus- and calcium-rich soil. English laurel loves neutral and alkaline substrates.
Experts suggest adding bedding material around the shrubs. Thanks to it, the plants grow better. Use pine bark for this purpose. The layer shouldn’t be thicker than 4-5 cm.
Where to plant cherry laurel?
Although cherry laurel grows well in shaded and half-shaded areas, full sun exposure won’t be a problem, either - especially if it forms a hedge. Just make sure that the soil the shrub grows is damp enough. If there is a drought - water it more frequently.
If possible, you should plant your English laurel in a windless spot. This way, the plant won’t get damaged.
How to plant cherry laurel?
As for planting common laurel, there are a few options. Buying already developed shrubs and putting them in the ground is one of them. If you want a cherry laurel hedge - remember to properly set them apart. The gaps should be about 50 cm. Buying grown shrubs, especially large ones, is a much more expensive solution. For this reason, seedlings are a more popular option. In this case, you need to prepare, otherwise planting won’t be successful.
- Dampen the roots endings in a special rooting compound.
- Then, put those parts into containers filled with a peat-sand mixture.
- Place the containers in a shaded, warm and airy place.
Cherry laurel - watering and feeding
English laurel doesn’t like dry soil, so regular, intense watering is crucial - especially when there’s no rain. Make sure the plant always has slightly damp soil. Otherwise, it can get dehydrated and die.
One mustn’t water cherry laurels in winter. That’s why preparation in winter is so important. When fall comes, water and feed the plant regularly, so that it has the best possible conditions.
Although English laurel isn’t too demanding, fertilizing is highly recommended. Thanks to it, the plant grows better. You can use compost for this purpose - make sure to feed it to your laurel regularly, from early spring to summer.
How to trim cherry laurel - the right way
If serving as an element of a plant composition, cherry laurel doesn’t need trimming. It doesn’t mean you cannot shape it or remove old or tangled branches. Each of them can be cut with no issues, so that the shrub always looks perfect.
Cutting cherry laurel usually concerns the plants used as a hedge. In this case, a so-called shaping cut is recommended. Thanks to it, shrubs take a form of a fence.
How to protect cherry laurel over winter?
If you have a frost-hardy and snow resistant English laurel in your garden, preparing it for winter is much easier. You just have to water it well in autumn. There’s no need to cover it for winter.
What about other varieties? One way to protect them against frost involves covering them with fabric. It shouldn’t press too tightly onto the plant, but it has to cover it completely. This way, you protect branches from breaking.
Cherry laurel diseases
English laurel is quite resistant to various diseases and fungi. In most cases, if you provide the plant with proper care, you can prevent any infections. But there is always a risk that something attacks your cherry laurel. If it happens, you have to act quickly - this way, you can save your plant.
Various fungi are the biggest threat to cherry laurel. They give clear signals from the beginning. You can notice small holes in leaves. In this case, you should use a store-bought antifungal product. You can find it in any gardening store.
Many gardeners decide to take preventive measures to protect English laurel from fungi. One should spray the plant with special products to keep it safe. This way, the risk of an infection is minimal.
📍 What does cherry laurel look like?
Cherry laurel is a decorative shrub that looks very elegant. Its large leaves resemble bay laurel. When blooming, English laurel develops small bright flowers, similar to the ones found on fruit trees. Depending on the variety, the height of the plant, the size and color of the leaves differ.
📍 How fast does English laurel hedge grow?
A hedge formed by cherry laurel tends to grow quickly. The plant can grow even 30 cm upwards during one season. A lot depends on the variety you pick and the care you provide to the shrubs.
📍 When to plant cherry laurel?
Autumn is the best time to plant frost-resistant cherry laurel. This way, you have enough time for the plant to take root, and can prepare it for the first winter. If you pick a non-frost resistant variety, it's better to plant it in spring, after the last frosts.
📍 What is the proper spacing for an English laurel hedge?
When planting a cherry laurel, make sure to give it enough space so that it can grow without an issue. 50 cm is a standard. Spacing is important - especially if you form a hedge.