PLANT SPOTLIGHT: Cherry Laurel
The unrelenting performance of the cherry laurel season after season is incredible. At times when other shrubs aren’t performing to their maximum potential, the cherry laurel is there to pick up the slack by providing interest all year long with its large lush foliage as its centerpiece.
The cherry laurel’s scientific name is Prunus laurocerasus. It is an evergreen shrub that is native to parts of southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia. Cultivated shrubs have a large spread (20’) and height (15’) if left unmaintained. The large oblong leaves are dark green. Whereas some evergreen leaves tend to discolor or shrivel during the winter months, the cherry laurels leaves stay dark and green. Fragrant white blooms appear in mid spring. The flowers give way to black berry drupes that are loved by birds.
Cherry laurels are hardy form Zone 6 to Zone 8. They adapt well in almost any sunlight condition except for deep shade. The further north they are planted the more sunlight they like whereas the further south the more shade they like. Below are two available in our area that go great in most landscape designs.
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Otto Luyken’ – This is the most commonly used variety we use. It is a compact cultivar that grows only 3-4 feet tall and spreads to 6-8 feet. Over time it can grow 6-10 feet tall if left untrimmed. Used for foundation planting and screens
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensus’ – Also known as “Schip” or “Schipka” Laurel. Somewhat narrow in growth habit compared to the above species and will get wider as it ages. Gets about 4-6’ tall and about 6-8’ wide. Used for screening and mass plantings.