How fast do cherry laurel trees grow

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The cherry laurels of the genus Prunus will be discussed in detail. Laurel or sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) and mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) are briefly mentioned.

Cherry Laurel or English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Mature Height/Spread: This evergreen, broadleaf shrub can grow to 20 feet but is generally kept smaller in the home landscape. The spread is 6 to 10 feet. The leathery, glossy, dark green leaves are 3 to 7 inches long and 1½ to 2 inches wide. Cherry laurel blooms in mid spring and has white flowers, which are often hidden by the leaves. Small black fruits appear in the fall.

Cherry laurel flower spikes.
Joey Williamson, ©2007 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Growth Rate: Cherry laurel is a fast-growing plant. It grows 25 inches or more per year.

Landscape Use: Suggested uses for this plant include hedges and groupings. It is very popular in the South.

Cultivation: Cherry laurels perform best in moist, well-drained soil supplemented with organic matter. Plant in partial shade to full sun. This plant tolerates salt spray and heavy shearing. Avoid excessive fertilization.

Problems: Cherry laurel is more disease- and insect-resistant than other Prunus species, but root rot can be a problem if the shrub is planted in a wet location. A fungal or bacterial disease called “shot hole,” produces purple to reddish leaf spots. The spots drop out, leaving circular holes in the leaf. Mild, wet summer weather promotes this leaf spot. Avoid overhead watering. The fungus Botryosphaeria causes limb dieback.

Cultivars & Varieties

‘Otto Luyken’ grows 3 to 4 feet high and 5 to 7 feet wide. The foliage is glossy, dark green, the flowers are white, and the fruit is black.

‘Schipka laurel’ (Schipkaensis) is a spreading shrub, 4 to 5 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide with dark green foliage, white flowers and black fruit. This shrub has a refined appearance and is hardy and vigorous in habit of growth.

‘Zabel laurel’ (Zabeliana) is a narrow-leafed cultivar with branches angling upward and outward (5 to 8 feet) from the plant base. The shrub grows 5 to 6 feet in height and is more tolerant of full sun than the species.

Flowers and foliage of Carolina cherry laurel. Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,

Carolina Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)

Carolina cherry laurel can reach 35 to 40 feet with multiple trunks. Often it is used as a clipped hedge or tall screen to 20 feet high. The densely leaved plant has glossy green leaves, which are 2 to 4 inches long. Small, white flowers appear in late winter or spring, followed by black fruit almost the size of blueberries. This shrub is tolerant of heat and drought.

Portugal Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)

Portugal laurel is a densely branched shrub, 10 to 20 feet tall, or a multitrunked, spreading tree up to 30 feet tall. When trained to a single trunk, it is used as a formal street tree. The glossy, dark green leaves are 5 inches long by 2 inches wide. Small, white flowers in 5- to 10-inch spikes appear in spring and early summer, followed by clusters of tiny, red to dark purple fruit. Portugal laurel is slower growing than cherry laurel, but more tolerant of heat, sun, wind and drought.

Glossy, evergreen leaves of Portugal laurel.
Karen Russ, ©2007 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Laurel or Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis)

This attractive, evergreen tree grows 10 to 12 feet with a spread of 8 to 10 feet. The thick, leathery, dark green leaves are 2 to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide, with wavy margins. The greenish-yellow flowers are without petals and not very ornamental. The bark is gray, and the fruit is a black berry.

Upright form of sweet bay.
Karen Russ, ©2008 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Bay trees grow slowly. They prefer full sun to light shade and fertile, well-drained soil. They can be used as topiary, hedge or screen. Bay leaves can be harvested and dried throughout the year. This ancient and famous plant may not survive winter in the Upstate, but it grows well in the Coastal Plain. Bay trees are susceptible to white wax scale, which makes the leaves sooty and retards leaf growth.

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

This broadleaf evergreen shrub grows to a height of 12 to 15 feet and spreads to 12 feet. The growth rate is less than 12 inches a year. Mountain laurel requires an acid, well-aerated soil. It tolerates shade, but some exposure to sun is required for proper flower color development of red and pink cultivars. The foliage is thick and leathery with a dark green color at maturity.

White flowered mountain laurel.
Joey Williamson, ©2008 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Mountain laurel is native to dry rocky woodlands, slopes and streambanks from Florida to Canada. This shrub can be used in borders, foundation plantings, screen, massing and as a specimen plant. Mountain laurel’s cultural requirements are similar to those of rhododendron and azalea, so they can be grown together.

‘Fuscata’ mountain laurel flowers.
The Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens,

Mountain laurel is susceptible to scale insects, lacebug, whitefly and borers. Cercospora leaf spot is found on almost all mountain laurels. This fungus causes irregular to circular spots on the leaves of mountain laurel throughout the Appalachian region. Severe infection seems to stunt plant growth and suppress flowering, particularly on plants growing in moist, shady places. The spots are 2 to 4 inches across, at first medium to dark brown on both surfaces, but fading to grayish brown in the center of the upper surface. The margin remains dark brown to purplish brown.

Originally published 05/99

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at [email protected] or 1-888-656-9988.

How Fast Does Cherry Laurel Grow?

Also known by the Latin Prunus laurocerasus, Cherry Laurel is an evergreen shrub with glossy dark green leaves. Strangely, Cherry Laurel isn’t a true Laurel and actually comes from the prunus genus. It gets its name from its resemblance to both Bay Laurel and the Cherry Tree, as its leaves and fruit are similar in appearance.

Fast growing, hardy and decorative Cherry Laurel hedge

Cherry Laurel hedging provides year-round interest for humans and wildlife. In spring, it produces racemes of small creamy-white flowers with a delicate sweet fragrance. These are a magnet for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

The flowers are followed by shiny dark red fruits that appear in autumn. The colour of the cherry-like berries changes to near black as the winter comes in, and they’re a valuable food source for birds and small mammals.

Cherry Laurel is dense, easy to grow and spreads quickly, making it one of the country’s most popular hedging plants. This shrub is sometimes called Common Laurel or English Laurel, but all three common names refer to the same plant.

Check out Gardeners Dream for more Cherry Laurel inspiration.

Cherry Laurel hedges boast bright green leaves, white flowers and deep red berries.

When to Plant Cherry Laurel Hedges

The right time to plant a Cherry Laurel shrub largely depends on how your plants are delivered. Pot-grown and bare root or root ball plants should be treated a little differently.

Pot-Grown Plants

If your Cherry Laurel plants are cell-grown (grown in containers) and have been supplied in their pots, you can plant them out at any time of year. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that shrubs planted during the growing season need to be watered much more frequently than those planted between late autumn and early spring.

Bare Root and Root Ball Plants

Bare Root plants are grown in the ground and removed during their dormant phase. Any soil is carefully brushed away, leaving the root system bare and ready to be transplanted into a new setting.

Similar to bare root, root ball plants have been grown in the ground and dug up to be delivered. The difference is that root ball plants keep the soil around their roots. The whole thing is enveloped in a biodegradable bag that can be transferred into the plant’s final position.

The best time of year to plant bare root and root ball Cherry Laurels is during the dormant season from November to March, when the plant isn’t growing.

Bare root, rootball and cell grown shrubs all have slightly different planting requirements,

How Long does Cherry Laurel Take to Grow?

Cherry Laurel typically grows between 30 and 60cm per year, which is relatively fast. It has an ultimate height of up to 8 metres. If left untrimmed, the hedging will reach this height in around 20-50 years.

The shrubs can spread up to around 8m, so you need to take this into account when planting. Place Laurel plants in the ground with spacing of around half a metre between them.

The fast pace of Cherry Laurel’s growth makes it ideal for providing screening from view and shelter from winds. A dense hedge can be grown quite quickly.

Cherry Laurel Hedging will reach an eventual height of around 8 metres

How to Care for Cherry Laurel

Laurel is tolerant of most soil types but may not thrive in chalky or water-logged soils. It prefers a spot in full sun or partial shade, and providing these conditions will help it grow faster.

Being an evergreen plant, Cherry Laurel doesn’t require a huge amount of maintenance to remain healthy in appearance. Its fast growth rate means it does need regular trimming to stop it from becoming a nuisance, but no more than you would trim other plants. General hedge trimming twice a year is plenty to maintain the size and shape of your Laurel hedges.

Cherry Laurel is hardy and can withstand pretty much any weather that Great British winters throw at it.

Cherry Laurels are hardy evergreen hedging plants with great ornamental value

Can I Speed Up Cherry Laurel Growth?

If you’re looking to grow a thick hedge quickly, you might want to help hurry growth along a little. The best way to ensure your Cherry Laurel plants grow as fast as possible is to care for them well.

If you’d like your Cherry Laurel hedging plants to grow a little faster, try feeding them with high-quality fertiliser. Both new and established plants will benefit from the added nutrients, which promotes healthy growth.

It may sound counterproductive, but regular pruning is essential for encouraging fresh new growth in Cherry Laurels. Use secateurs to prune Laurel and remove any dead or damaged branches, twigs and leaves. Garden shears or loppers can be used for the hard pruning of mature hedges. Pruning in late spring or early summer will result in a thicker, bushier Cherry Laurel shrub.

With its bright green leaves, you’ll want to grow your Cherry Laurel hedge as quickly as possible

How Tall Should I Let My Hedge Plants Grow?

As above, Cherry Laurel hedging plants can reach an impressive eventual height. However, they are easier to care for if trimmed down to a manageable size. They cope well with pruning and are attractive when trimmed into a neat shape.

A Cherry Laurel left without pruning will eventually grow into a tree shape, rather than a bushy hedge. For this reason, we recommend maintaining your Cherry Laurel hedging at around 1.5-2m tall. This is plenty of height for screening purposes but stops your hedges getting out of control.

Leave Cherry Laurel hedges to grow and they will reach an impressive height.

There’s a reason why Cherry Laurel is one of the most popular hedge plants in the UK. Whether you’re looking to grow a feature hedge for aesthetics or a dense hedge for privacy and shelter, the Cherry Laurel is perfect. It is a fast-growing shrub with evergreen foliage and lush leaves. Put together, these qualities create a classic-looking hedge that is easy to maintain.

plant species, planting basics, propagation methods, care rules

Not all gardeners know how to grow a bay tree. Actually, it's not that difficult. You just need to choose the right place for planting and monitor the planted tree, providing it with conditions for development.


  • 1 Types of laurel tree
  • 2 How to grow a laurel tree from seed
  • 3 Growing from a branch
  • 4 Plant pests
  • 5 Tree watering methods
  • 6 Transplanting methods

Laurel tree species

Laurel tree at home

Laurel tree (or laurel) is an evergreen plant with leathery leaves from the Laurel family, which also includes a number of shrubs. The main habitat is limited to the subtropics:

  • Mediterranean countries;
  • Transcaucasia;
  • Canary Islands.

Bay leaf contains a variety of essential oils that define its scent. Also, thanks to oils, laurel branches were used by the ancient Greeks for ritual, medicinal and domestic purposes.

Laurel tree blooms in April-May with small flowers collected in umbrella inflorescences. In place of fallen petals, ovaries are formed, from which fruits grow - one-seeded drupes. At home, the flowering of laurel is an exceptional phenomenon.

The most famous representative of the genus is the noble laurel. Azorean, Chinese and other species are also known. The noble laurel was classified in 1753, the Azores - relatively recently (1960).

Laurel leaves are now used as a spice and the plant itself is often grown for ornamental purposes.

How to grow laurel from seed

Growing laurel from seed is one of the most common ways to propagate laurel. It must be remembered that the shelf life of seed material from these plants is no more than a year. The more the bones lie, the less likely they are to germinate after planting. The ideal option would be material personally collected from fruits.

Laurel seeds are previously peeled and soaked for several hours in a solution of any growth stimulant. The soil is prepared for planting - a mixture of soddy soil and river sand in a ratio of 1: 4.

The seed is buried in the substrate to a depth of about 1.5 cm. The containers are covered with glass or film and placed on the window. Crops are ventilated daily, 1-2 times a day for 15 minutes to avoid stagnation of moisture in the soil. The temperature regime of germination is 18-20°C.

Seeds are planted at the beginning of the year (January-February) in order to get germinated shoots by the end of spring. Seeds can germinate within 6 months, so do not be upset if seedlings do not appear 1-2 months after planting.

Sprouted crops are planted in separate small containers. Shoots are buried in the soil to a depth of about 5 cm. If the depth of embedding is less, the grown shoots will have to dive after the appearance of a pair of true leaves.

Growing from a branch

Vegetative propagation of laurel is carried out by cuttings and rooting of cuttings.

In order to get a new plant from cuttings, a tree branch is bent down and covered with soil at the point of contact. After young shoots appear, the rooted part of the branch is cut off and transplanted into a separate container.

For cuttings, a 10 cm long top with 2-3 buds is cut off from a young laurel stem. The cutting must be non-lignified. The shoots are immersed in the soil to a depth of 1 cm and the soil surface is covered with a thin layer of sand.

Pests of the plant

Laurel is susceptible to attack by various insects. Laurel tree pests:

  • scale insects;
  • spider mite;
  • mealybugs.

Scale insects suck the juice from the leaves, as a result of which they gradually turn yellow, dry out and fall off. As in cases of combating other pests, the diseased plant is isolated from neighboring ones, the insects are removed with ticks or other improvised means, and the stem and crown are sprayed with an insecticide solution (Aktara, Aktellik). Spraying is carried out for a month 1 time per week. The top layer of soil is removed and replaced with a new one, since the first layer may contain scale insect larvae.

Spider mites are very small. Its presence can be seen when the plant is already affected - cobwebs appear in the axils of the leaves. In the initial stages of infection, it is enough to treat diseased trees with soapy water. Severe infestations require the use of insecticides.

The most noticeable sign of mealybug infestation of the laurel tree is the appearance of a white foamy coating and sticky liquid on the stems and leaves of the plant. Sick seedlings are washed in soapy water, and then treated with insecticides several times with a weekly interval.

Tree watering methods

Lat. Láurus nóbilis

Laurel trees can only be planted outdoors if there are no frosts throughout the year. Therefore, in a temperate climate zone, it is difficult to grow it in the garden. You can plant a laurel in a pot and leave it outside in the warm season.

Plants develop well in conditions of fairly high humidity. Periodically, the foliage of the laurel must be wiped with a damp cloth, and once a month a warm shower is arranged for the tree, covering the soil with plastic wrap.

To achieve the desired humidity level, follow these steps. A container with a tree is placed in a pallet on which moss or small pebbles are laid. The material in the tray must be moistened regularly.

Laurel is watered frequently, especially during periods of drought. Watering the bay tree is carried out in the morning or evening in the absence of strong winds. Water for irrigation should be settled and heated to a temperature not lower than room temperature.

Reduce the frequency and volume of watering during cold winters. At this time, the trees enter a dormant state, and excessive moisture will disrupt the rhythm of their life cycle.

In addition to watering, the bay tree needs to provide other conditions for development:

  • bright but diffused light;
  • periodic feeding;
  • loosening the soil within the trunk circle.

An important condition for the good growth of laurel trees is regular pruning of their crowns. The procedure is carried out in the spring, removing diseased, old and overly branching shoots with a sharp knife.
By pruning plants can be given the desired shape, thereby increasing their decorative value.

Transplantation methods

Young leaves on a bay tree

Transplantation of a bay tree is carried out using the transshipment method. The soil in the pot is plentifully moistened, the seedling is carefully removed along with the earthy clod, without shaking it off so as not to damage the root system, and transplanted into the prepared container.

You can make your own transplant substrate by mixing fallen leaves, turf soil and river sand. A drainage layer of broken brick, expanded clay or small pebbles is laid at the bottom of the pot.

Repotting is essential for plants as their roots grow and they need more and more space. The container for transplanting laurel should be a few centimeters larger than the previous one. But do not use too spacious pots. Excess soil in them will turn sour and lead to diseases of the seedling.

Young laurel trees are replanted annually. When the seedlings reach the age of five, they are transplanted every 2-3 years. The procedure is carried out in early spring, when the trees are just waking up from their winter dormancy and starting the growth processes.

While watching the video, you will learn about growing laurel at home.

Growing a bay tree is not such a difficult task as it seems at first glance. When planting, you just need to wait for the shoots and properly care for the seedlings, regularly watering and cutting them. Laurel has not only decorative properties. Its leaves are used as a spicy spice in cooking, and the evaporation of essential oils purifies the surrounding air.

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Trees and shrubs

Laurel cherry officinalis: cultivation, planting and care

Fragrant, ornamental, unpretentious, evergreen deciduous culture - Laurel cherry officinalis. The topic will be important for gardeners who dream of a lush green landscape in winter on their land, turning the garden into a real rainforest, filling it with food and at the same time medicinal plants.

Dietmut Teijgeman-Han /

Description . Laurel cherry officinalis ( Prunus laurocerasus ) is an evergreen deciduous bush-like tree up to 6 m tall with a dense crown, in the Middle lane it often grows as a semi-evergreen shrub up to 1 m high. medicinal as a more hardy culture is often sold under the name noble laurel. But these plants are easy to distinguish - when rubbing a leaf of laurel cherry, there is no specific spicy smell of bay leaf. Cherry laurel is connected with cherries by close family ties, but what laurel cherry most of all looks like is bird cherry. Its leaves are broadly elliptical, up to 20 cm, shiny, leathery, in the Middle lane in severe winters they fall only in February, and then if the temperature drops below -25 ° C. The flowers are white, fragrant, up to 1 cm in diameter, collected in erect spikelets up to 13 cm long. Blooms in late April - early May. The fruits are juicy purple-black drupes about 1 cm in diameter, hanging in clusters. Like bird cherry, the berries are edible, but raw seeds contain hydrocyanic acid, and therefore are poisonous. The whole plant is just as poisonous, so it should not be added to food as a seasoning instead of laurel. The berries ripen in August, sweet-fruited varieties have a sugary-almond taste, but the fruits of wild-growing laurel cherry are usually bitter. The berries of this plant are used for compote, wine, jam, dried for the winter for teas. The first fruiting can be expected for 4-6 years after sowing seeds, cuttings seedlings bloom in the second year. The most popular varieties are Shipkensis, Otto Luyken, Caucasian. Cherry laurel is often grown as a tub culture, which looks great during flowering and fruiting. This is especially true for the north of the Middle Strip.

Tatters /

Growing conditions . Laurel cherry officinalis is the most frost-resistant, unpretentious and hardy species among other laurel cherries, so it is grown almost all over the world. Without harm withstands frosts down to -18 ° C, in a place protected from the wind with a high level of snow, it takes out up to -25 ° C without damage. The Black Sea coast and the Mediterranean are considered to be the birthplace of the laurel cherry officinalis, where it rises to the mountains up to 2 km. This culture is promising for open ground in the south of the Middle Strip, up to western Belarus, where it has been introduced for more than 60 years. Cherry laurel grows well on rich calcareous loamy soils with a neutral pH of 7. It is often found on slightly alkaline calcareous soils. But, in general, this plant is undemanding to soils, avoiding only strongly acidic (pH below 5), dry sands and cold clays. It is important that the soils are constantly moderately moist. Despite the fact that the plant is southern, laurel cherry does not favor the open sun, feeling better in partial shade with a play of direct sunlight.

The healing properties of laurel cherry are the analgesic and soothing effect of "laurel cherry water" - an aqueous infusion of fresh leaves.

Seph Swain /

Planting and Care . When growing laurel cherries from seeds, it should be remembered that their germination is quickly lost when dried, so seeds are sown immediately after harvest in August. So, having passed the natural stratification, shoots of laurel cherry will appear only in May - June. Moreover, so that the seeds do not freeze out, it is better to mulch them with straw 20 cm thick, which must be removed in April. Seeds are planted to a depth of 1 cm. The soil mixture for sowing and planting seedlings consists of light loam or sandy loam, compost, fertile turf or garden soil in equal parts. If peat is used instead of sod land, then 1 glass of wood ash should be added to 1 bucket of peat. The mixture is well mixed and soaked with water, after a week it can be planted and sown. In the same year, it is better to transplant the seedlings to a permanent place, because. the root system of laurel cherry is sensitive to frequent transplants. You can also grow seedlings indoors, sowing seeds in August in a box, in October bring it to the cellar or to a frost-free balcony, where in winter the temperature is about + 1 + 5 ° С. At the end of February, the box is taken out into the room, and shoots will appear at room temperature already in March - April. By the summer, they are seated in containers, tubs, often growing laurel cherry as an indoor, greenhouse or greenhouse crop. Cherry laurel reproduces well by layering, worse by cuttings. Containerized seedlings are planted in the garden in late March - early May, in a pit measuring 50 × 50 cm. After planting, the plant is watered and mulched. Watering for cherry laurel is important moderate and periodic, once a week, in hot weather every other day, and it does not tolerate flooding, but responds well to crown sprinkling. In the southern regions, cherry laurel can be used as an additional plant in an evergreen deciduous hedge along with boxwood, holly, mahonia, because. she handles haircuts well. It responds well to any fertilizer that is applied in early summer. In the Middle lane, laurel cherry must be insulated for the winter. In October - November, high-quality mulch with straw, hay or buckwheat husks. For young plants, it is better to make a simple frame shelter. In December, when stable daytime frosts come, the plant is wrapped with agrofiber in 1-2 layers so that the leaves do not rot. Pot cultures are brought into bright rooms with a winter temperature of +1 + 10 ° C, while watering 2-3 times a month.

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