How to plant and cultivate the cherry laurel?

How to plant and cultivate the cherry laurel?

Characteristics of the cherry laurel

  • Type: shrub
  • Height: 1 to 2 m, 2 to 5 m
  • Flower color: white
  • Desired exposure: sunny, semi-shaded
  • Type of soil: humus
  • Foliage: persistent
  • Interview: frequent watering
  • sanitizer: no
  • diseases: powdery mildew

Origins and peculiarities of the cherry laurel

Coming from the Rosaceae family, the cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), also known as almond laurel or palm laurel, is a topiary shrub not to be confused with oleander or laurel sauce which are not from the same family!

Visually, the cherry laurel is distinguished by:

  • Its shiny and ribbed dark green leaves, which form a very compact foliage;
  • Its small white flowers which grow in clusters at the birth of the leaves;
  • Its black fruits (called drupes) which appear in autumn and look like olives.
  • Its imposing size, since the cherry laurel is a plant whose size often oscillates between 3 and 5 meters.

There are several varieties of laurel-cherry: classics and dwarfs. Depending on the variety, the foliage differs since some have oblong leaves while others have rounded leaves. However, whatever the variety, the flowers remain white.

With its resistance and its thick foliage, the laurel-cherry is ideal for forming decorative hedges or creating a separation with the neighborhood. Some smaller species can however be grown in pots to add some greenery to your terrace.

Good to know:the cherry laurel leaves, like its fruits, are very toxic and have glands that can release poison. If you plant them at home, make sure that your children never put them in their mouths, and that your animals never eat their fruits.

Plantation of the cherry laurel

Drained soil is essential for the evolution of your shrub. On the other hand, a too calcareous soil is little advised. Cherry laurel should be planted in a sunny or semi-shaded location, in the fall or spring.

For large varieties, be sure to space your plants at least 1 m while for pot cultures, prefer a pot large enough to let the roots flourish. Drill your pot and place a layer of clay balls at the bottom to drain. In beds or hedges, do not hesitate to stake to allow your cherry laurel to evolve in the best conditions.

Cultivation and maintenance of the cherry laurel

The laurel-cherry is a shrub that does not require too complicated maintenance (apart from an annual pruning): it is important to water it regularly when it is hot and the first years following its planting; watering can then be more spaced.
The size of the topiary shrub is important. It can be done in spring or autumn - or both - to keep the desired shape but also to avoid the production of unnecessary fruit since toxic. Do not hesitate to prune frankly, to the pruner when the shrub is small, to the hedge trimmer when it grows.

Dwarf varieties that can be grown in pots can still reach a few meters high, pruning is also compulsory for these varieties.

Diseases and pests of cherry laurel

If the cherry laurel is considered a robust shrub, it can still be attacked by diseases and pests such as:

  • Powdery mildew, which we fight with Bordeaux mixture.
  • Verticillium, which develops if the humidity is too high, and attacks the foliage. It is imperative to cut and burn immediately the affected parts to avoid proliferation.
  • Aphids and caterpillars that can harm your cherry laurel, but this turns out to be rather rare.