Cherry Laurel (English Laurel): Leaves, Flowers, Fruit (Pictures) – Identification Guide

Cherry laurel is a lovely decorative shrub that thrives in the spring. Due to their glossy green lanceolate leaves, sweet white blooms, and black berries, cherry laurel bushes make a lovely flowering hedge or screen. A flowering example plant or a miniature tree in a garden landscape may alternatively be grown as a cherry laurel. Sweet-smelling blossoms and crushed leaves give a cherry laurel the aroma of an almond when it is crushed.

Cherry laurel’s hardiness is one of the reasons it’s so popular for hedges. The evergreen plant thrives in full sun to partial shade and is drought tolerant. It grows well in most soil types as long as it is planted in well-drained, organically rich soil.

Therefore, you may construct a tight, formal privacy hedge with evergreen leaves in your front or back yard by maintaining it lightly every year. The cherry laurel shrub can be identified in this article completely. You’ll get a valuable growing guide in addition to descriptions and images of the plant’s leaves, flowers, and berries.

What is Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Cherry laurel, also known as English laurel, is a huge evergreen shrub or small tree in the Rosaceae family. Between 20 and 30 feet (6 and 9 meters) tall, a cherry laurel shrub may be found. Nonetheless, it’s simple to keep an evergreen privacy screen at a height of 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters).

The genus and the form of the leaves are what give it the name cherry laurel. The Prunus genus includes cherry trees, and the shrub is a relative of them. The leaves resemble laurel leaves, hence the common name “laurel.” The laurel tree (Laurus nobilis) and cherry laurel aren’t connected.

Cherry laurel berries, on the other hand, are dangerous poisonous fruit. The related Prunus caroliniana, also known as Carolina cherry laurel, should not be confused with the cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus). As a result, in the United States, the Prunus laurocerasus is commonly referred to as English Laurel.

Cherry laurel grows 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) each year, making it a fast-growing decorative plant. You may grow a hedgerow with thick foliage in a few years because of the fast growth rate. The plant’s popularity is also aided by the shrub’s evergreen leaves.

The leaves of a cherry laurel hedge remain throughout the year. As a consequence, throughout the year, it offers thick, glossy foliage to help conceal your yard. The cherry laurel hedge is covered with clusters of fragrant flowers in the spring. In USDA zones 6 through 8, cherry laurel bushes are suitable.

Dwarf English Cherry Laurel

There are various cultivars of dwarf English laurel available for tiny gardens, ranging from little to small. Between 6 and 8 feet (1.8 and 2.4 meters) tall and broad, a dwarf cherry laurel can be found. Glittering green leaves, fragrant spring blooms, and evergreen foliage are all appealing aspects of the shrub.

A flowering dwarf cherry laurel develops quickly and is simple to care for, which is one of the reasons it’s popular. Moreover, this drought-tolerant plant thrives on most soils. For front and backyards, the tiny shrub offers seclusion and shade. Also, as a foundation planting, grow along a fence, or cover unsightly garden structures, the shrub is simple to keep.

Cherry Laurel Hedge

A low-maintenance garden hedge, privacy screen, windbreak, or tall border plant such as a cherry laurel shrub is an excellent option. In the spring, cherry laurel blooms quickly and has lovely bright colors, as well as evergreen leaves. Furthermore, as a hardy evergreen hedge that grows between 3 and 6.5 feet (0.9 and 2 meters) tall, the shrub is simple to care for. Planting a cherry laurel hedge is simple enough.

The evergreen hedge  thrives in full sun and can tolerate severe shade as long as the soil is well-draining and fertile. USDA zones 6 through 8 are the best for it. A smaller cherry laurel cultivar, skip laurel (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’) is also an excellent hedge shrub.

Cherry Laurel Leaves

Cherry laurel leaves are distinguished as dark green, glossy lance-shaped leaves with a bright lemony fragrance. The leaves, which are up to 10 inches (25 cm) long and 5 inches (12 cm) broad, are glossy green. The greenish-yellow midrib and veins of the laurel leaves create a smooth sheen to them. Cherry laurel leaves have slightly serrated margins, which is another identifying characteristic.

Cherry laurel leaves and sweet bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) are not to be confused, despite their resemblance. Due to cyanide, leaves from cherry laurel trees have a lovely almondy scent. Sweet bay leaves, on the other hand, are utilized as a spice in cooking. They come from the bay laurel tree.

Cherry Laurel Flowers

Cherry laurel shrub blooms are clusters (racemes) of cylindrical white blooms that range in size from 2.7″ to 6″ (7 to 15 cm). Five pale-white petals with many yellowish-green stamens make up each blossom. Early spring flowers, lasting until April, appear on cherry laurel. The blossoms emit a pleasant plum scent.

Cherry Laurel Fruit

Cherry laurel fruit is clusters of deep red round berries that resemble tiny cherries. During the summer until autumn, the glossy red berries turn black. The black fruits, like the rest of the plant, are poisonous and should not be eaten. Birds, on the other hand, will be drawn to your yard by the berries.

How to Identify Cherry Laurel

The large, smooth, shiny green leaves of a cherry laurel plant are its most distinguishing feature. The dense foliage is created by the pointed evergreen leaves. Cherry laurel bushes set off with their typical pointed cylindrical white blossom racemes in the spring. Before autumn, clusters of black and red berries adorn the shrub when the flowers are gone.

How to Use Cherry Laurel in Your Landscape

Cherry laurel shrubs may be utilized in hedging or foundation planting and are a flexible landscaping plant. Almost anywhere you plant them, hardy, fast-growing shrubs thrive in shade, full sun, and a variety of soil types. Moreover, since cherry laurel can tolerate salty air, hedge plants are well-suited for coastal areas.

Planting cherry laurel bushes in a row is the most prevalent approach, whether it’s a hedge, privacy screen, or living fence. To establish a cherry laurel hedge, plant 2.5 to 3 feet (0.8 to 1 m) apart cherry laurel shrubs. The stems will grow thick as they join together quickly.

Ideal foundation plantings include cherry laurel shrubs. Regular pruning is acceptable for hardy plants. The front of the house’s shrubs, which grow beneath windows, can be easily maintained. You may choose compact and dwarf cultivars to reduce work required to care for evergreen bushes like cherry laurel. Because of their height of 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters), some of these bushes require less pruning and shaping.

But suppose you’re looking for a gorgeous evergreen specimen tree for your garden landscape. In that scenario, cherry laurel may be trained to develop into a stunning blooming evergreen tree. Suckering stems that develop around the main stem are all you need to remove.

How to Plant Cherry Laurel

Most garden landscapes with well-draining soil are ideal for cherry laurels. To get the greatest impact, plant the nursery bushes 3 feet (1 meter) apart to create a blooming evergreen hedge. In no time, the branches will join, giving you a lovely hedge or border in your garden.

Dig a hole 1.5 times larger in diameter and depth than the size of the nursery pot for cherry laurel growth. After that, cut away roots at the bottom of the pot with a sharp spade or saw. You won’t get girdling roots or a weak plant by removing these roots.

Next, put the root ball in the hole, making sure that the soil line matches the height. Next, use compost-enhanced native soil to backfill the hole. To eliminate air pockets, press the earth down as you dig the hole. Lastly, surround the root area with a thick layer of mulch and thoroughly water the cherry laurel.

Cherry Laurel Care Guide

A low-maintenance, easy-to-grow landscaping shrub called cherry laurel. Despite this, to ensure your glossy shrub thrives, there are a few things to consider about growing cherry laurel in your garden.

Where to Plant Cherry Laurel in a Garden Landscape

Plant your cherry laurel shrub in well-drained soil to take care of it properly. When the plants receives at least four to six hours of sunlight every day, they flourish. Yet, if you modify your watering schedule, the hardy plant will also thrive in full shade. Most types of soil will support a cherry laurel shrub. Nonetheless, it’s preferable to make sure the earth has a lot of organic matter.

Well-drained soil is a critical requirement for growing cherry laurel. Dig a 12″ (30 cm) deep and wide hole to check if the planting location is well-draining. Fill the excavation with water, then let it drain. Fill the holes with water 12 hours later. It is well-draining if the water has been in for two to three hours.

Cherry Laurel Care — Water Requirements

Watering requirements for a cherry laurel plant are modest. All you have to do is keep the earth damp without becoming soggy by watering it regularly. Regular rainfall, on the other hand, is sufficient to keep the hedge healthy in temperate regions without further watering. Watering the soil too much can make it waterlogged, so be careful.

A cherry laurel in dryer weather will need to be watered every now and again. The weather, on the other hand, determines how often you watering. Give the root region a thorough watering as soon as the land appears dry. Wait until the ground is completely dry before watering again.

Fertilizing Cherry Laurel Hedge

Fertilization is not required for cherry laurel bushes. To boost soil nutrient levels throughout the dormant season, you may apply a balanced slow-release shrub fertilizer in the fall. Along the drip line, this kind of fertilizer should be applied. The root area could also be lightly mulched with fresh compost or rotting manure.

Cherry Laurel Pruning Guide

One of the most important aspects of cherry laurel care is to properly prune it twice a year. Wait until the shrub has finished blooming before pruning, then do it again in the autumn. As a result, pruning a cherry laurel is best done in early June. To improve air circulation in the hedge, cut back several branches to just above the leaf. To prevent big holes in the foliage, it’s a good idea to prune evenly.

Around the end of September, I’ll prune my cherry laurel shrubs for the second time. Remove any dead, rotting, or sick branches as part of your regular upkeep. Furthermore, you want to create a cherry laurel tree. In order to prevent new branches from forming around the main stem, you’ll have to remove them on a regular basis.

Cherry Laurel Propagation

To grow new plants, take stem cuttings from a cherry laurel shrub in the spring. To grow the plant, use a clean, sharp knife to chop 6-inch (15-centimeter) stems. Lower leaves should be removed, and the cut end should be striped of bark. Plant in a container filled with moist potting soil after dipping the end in rooting hormone.

Place the container in full sun, but keep it from the wind. Make sure to keep the soil moist, but not to overdo it. Cuttings will need about a year to be robust enough to put in the garden.

Pests Affecting Cherry Laurel Growth

Common garden plant pests are seldom a problem for healthy cherry laurel shrubs. The plant’s development may be harmed by pests like spider mites, thrips, scale insects, beetles, and caterpillars. Wilting or yellowing leaves, holes in leaves, and other signs of cherry laurel pest infestations are common. You may use a strong stream of water from the garden hose to get rid of sap-sucking insects such as thrips, whiteflies, and aphids.

To get rid of the plant-destroying larvae, hand remove caterpillars from cherry laurel stems and leaves. Moreover, caterpillars may be unable to climb through the shrub’s branches and stems if you utilize sticky horticultural tape. Since they appear more like bumps on cherry laurel branches, identifying scale insects can be difficult. Scale, on the other hand, seldom causes significant damage to a Prunus plant.

Diseases Affecting Cherry Laurel Growth

Cherry laurel plants may be afflicted with fungus and bacterial illnesses, despite their toughness. Overwatering or too much moisture is usually the cause of cherry laurel foliage diseases. As a result, watering your garden plants correctly is the best way to avoid shrub plant diseases.

Cherry laurel root rot Yellowing leaves, leaf drop, weak stems, and branch dieback are all symptoms of this disease. Make sure water drains well from the root area to prevent root rot from killing your evergreen shrub.

Cherry laurel powdery mildew When there isn’t enough ventilation in the foliage, it forms proteins. The plant isn’t harmed by this white powdery substance. The white leaf blotches, on the other hand, are rather unattractive. Prune the shrub’s branches to encourage air circulation through it in order to prevent powdery mildew.

Cherry laurel shot hole Brown patches on leaves are a symptom of illness that causes them to grow. The leaves appear to have been shot by a shotgun due to the brown dots becoming holes. During the summer, this condition is most often seen in warm, damp climates. Cherry laurels, on the other hand, are often quite resilient.

Is Cherry Laurel Toxic?

The cherry laurel plant contains all of the harmful components. Poisonous chemicals may cause shortness of breath, weakness, convulsions, and respiratory failure in the leaves, seeds, and stems. Doctors advise that any portion of a cherry laurel shrub should not be ingested by children or pets.

Cherry Laurel Varieties

For any garden landscape or size, cherry laurel comes in a variety of cultivars. Here are some of the most popular:

Prunus laurocerasus ‘Otto Luyken’ – This lovely compact shrub grows 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.2 meters) tall and up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide and is a favorite dwarf cherry laurel cultivar. The lustrous lance-shaped green leaves of the shrub are prized.

Prunus laurocerasus ‘Mount Vernon’ – Since it only grows 2 feet (0.6 meters) high but up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) broad, this low-growing cherry laurel variety is ideal for quick-growing ground cover. Beautiful pointed, thin leaves with a green sheen cover the thick evergreen mound.

Prunus laurocerasus ‘Variegata’ – The ‘Variegata’ cultivar features brilliant green leaves with creamy-white variegation if you’re looking for a cherry laurel with variegated leaves. Cherry laurel can grow up to 16 feet (4.9 meters) tall if it is allowed to do so.

Prunus laurocerasus ‘Nana’ – The dwarf cherry laurel plant is a little one that takes time to grow. With its dense rounded growth habit, the versatile compact shrub can be used as a low informal hedge or accent plant. It grows to be 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) when fully grown, but it prunes well and can be kept shorter.

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