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English Laurel, Common Laurel, Cherry Laurel
Prunus laurocerasus

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Prunus (PROO-nus) (Info)
Species: laurocerasus (law-roh-KER-uh-sus) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Shrubs

Height:

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Spacing:

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Evergreen

Smooth-Textured

Other details:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Berkeley, California

Rough And Ready, California

Lewes, Delaware

Slaughter, Louisiana

Mashpee, Massachusetts

Newark, New Jersey

Ithaca, New York

Oyster Bay, New York

Raleigh, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina (2 reports)

Albany, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Souderton, Pennsylvania

Franklin, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Springfield, Virginia

Winchester, Virginia

Issaquah, Washington

Kirkland, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

5
positives
3
neutrals
2
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Jan 30, 2013, RosinaBloom from Waihi
New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:

The Cherry Laurel - a native to southwest Asia, southeast Europe, Turkey and nothern Iran - is a fast growing shrub/tree reaching 5 - 15 metres tall. There are over forty cultivars. It has a tolerance to drought and shade, and is an evergreen with its greenery being much used by florists. Distilled laurel water from the plant has pharmacological use. Ingesting the fruit can cause severe discomfort to humans, as the seeds contained within the fruit are poisonous like the rest of the plant. Their crushed leaves smell like almonds.

Positive

On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have used this plant as a foundation plant in front of our front porch. We grow bonica roses in front of that . It works as a nice background plant for the roses and is really pretty when in flower. My only complaint with it is the pruning needed to keep it in bounds. It all has to be done with hand clippers and it takes a considerable amount of time to trim each bush. My plants are twenty years old and are now about 8 to 10 feet wide and I keep them at five feet high. Pruning them is a chore. I have found some small cherry laurels elsewhere in the garden and I think I will plant them out back for a privacy screen. There they can grow as big as they want and pruning will not be an issue. I can't imagine trying to use these as a neat hedge - they would be too labor intensive.

Negative

On Nov 21, 2009, the1pony from (Pony) Lakewood, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I'll admit that these make a good privacy barrier, but really, I hate them. When they get big, they're a serious pain to keep up, you have to take a chainsaw to them every year because they grow so fast, and there's no getting rid of mature ones without bringing in some serious heavy machinery and digging every last scrap of root out. So you'd better be sure they're what you want forever, because you're gonna be stuck with them for life. Or until you move and pawn them off on somebody else.

What I wouldn't give for a nice ordinary fence... *sigh*

Neutral

On Jul 16, 2006, criand from New York, NY wrote:

We have just planted some English Laurel in our backyard. Although it's in the right position for sun exposure, we have noticed that one side of the plants is gradually drying up with leaves presenting brown dry spots.

Neutral

On Aug 24, 2005, aquaape from Berkeley, CA wrote:

In my Berkeley garden I have 2 of these trees. When I bought my house, they were pre-existing and looked like huge bushes. I have pruned them into trees and they are now much more interesting. They have heavy twisting trunks and branches with lush green leaves. They are about 15' tall and grow a few feet every year. I am having a problem keeping them from reverting to shrubbery as they sucker and water sprout constantly.

Positive

On Dec 10, 2004, jtk from Issaquah, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Attractive small tree here in the Pacific Northwest. Birds do spread it through the woods and forest of the coastal Northwest USA, but the seedlings are easy to control. The evergreen leaves add a positive atmosphere to the dark grey winter sky of the PNW.

Positive

On Jul 9, 2004, Bonanca from Nis
wrote:

i'm from Nis, Serbia. This town is in something I could describe as a zone 7b but not exactly as the American zone - we have some Mediteranean influence on climate so max. January temperature can reaches sometimes over 20C.

This kind of Laurel is native to this area,'cos there's an mountain 50 miles south of us (where Laurel has lived from ancient times); it reaches 1200 meters (~3600 feet) above sea level, and the temperature gets below -20C. In that location it grows up to 8 meters (~24 feet) in height. In my town, there are numerous spots where it is kept as an "city ornamental" plant or in the gardens of individual owners but I've never seen it grow over 4 meters (12 feet). It's doing very well during winter, unless it gets below -12C (which happens once in a few ye... read more

Negative

On Mar 6, 2004, Lynchpin wrote:

I was excited about planting this along the property line for privacy hearing that they were deer resistant. I bought a dozen of them in 3 gallon pots 2 years ago. Two years in a row, deer have stripped every leaf off of every plant. So much for my privacy.

Positive

On Mar 5, 2004, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

The Cherry laurel grows wild in this part of Georgia and South Carolina. It is an evergreen and can be quite attractive. Bloom isn't much but the blue black berries are. They do have a tendency to spring up everywhere a bird drops a seed but they aren't too difficult to control. They get get fairly large, 20 - 30 ft with trunks up to 10-12 inches. We had a rare ice storm two weeks ago and these things were shreded worst than the pines. I cut almost a cord of firwood just helping clean up my neighborhood. If you have ice storms frequently I would shy away from them, otherwise they are an attractive small tree. They are also very tolerant of dry conditions. Two years ago we had a drought that killed many oak trees, didn't faze the Cherry Laurel

Neutral

On Mar 4, 2004, emskware from Old Bridge, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I planted this English Laurel in a partly shady southern exposure in front of my double windows (Zone 6B) and it thrived all summer with thick, waxy green leaves. However, it has not fared well this winter and now half the leaves are brown and cracked. I tried to shelter it with burlap around the bottom half and tied the branches together to prevent them from breaking under the heavy snows, to no avail.