The Prunus Laurocerasus (English Laurel) Full Care Guide


The English Laurel, otherwise known as the Prunus Laurocerasus or Cherry Laurel, Laurel Cherry, Versailles Laurel, Common Laurel, is a rather well-known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green-colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is precisely what we’ll cover in this English Laurel Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your English Laurel are the following:

  • Water: The English Laurel wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.
  • Light: Keep your Prunus Laurocerasus in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the English Laurel in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the English Laurel this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the English Laurel belongs to the Rosaceae family, the genus Prunus and the species Laurocerasus, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Prunus Laurocerasus (PROO-nus lar-oh-ser-AY-sus).

As with other Prunus’s, the English Laurel is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year-round in your garden.

Growing Region

The English Laurel is a plant native to Europe.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your English Laurel is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Prunus Laurocerasus will be most used to the heat zones in the 6 – 10 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the English Laurel is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But what exactly does this mean for your English Laurel? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Prunus Laurocerasus can grow up to 15′ – 30′ (4.5m – 9m) in 15′ – 30′ (4.5m – 9m) and 15′ – 30′ (4.5m – 9m) in 15′ – 30′ (4.5m – 9m). 

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful spreading shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

Watering

In terms of watering, the English Laurel is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Prunus Laurocerasus wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your English Laurel in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your English Laurel is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the English Laurel prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the English Laurel requires soil with high organic matter, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Placement

In terms of light & exposure, the English Laurel requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Prunus Laurocerasus in from full or deep shade (no direct sunlight or at most 2 hours per day), to little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), and finally full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being an evergreen plant, the English Laurel will be present year-round in your garden. But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.

Flowers

You can expect your English Laurel to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring). In particular, this shrub is well known for its fragrant and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The English Laurel produces some beautiful white flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the English Laurel have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with an alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Prunus Laurocerasus to be around (> 6 inches) in size.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The English Laurel is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for salt and drought conditions, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Prunus Laurocerasus will be fine.

Garden

How should you then organize your garden to include your new English Laurel? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Prunus Laurocerasus owners agree that this shrub will look great in most cottage, contemporary and mediterranean gardens of all types

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the English Laurel’s best location within your garden is in hedges and screens, others use it for landscaping in a coastal exposure, urban garden, wildlife garden, border, mass planting, windbreak, hedge, dry shade, privacy screen, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

English Laurel’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Acer palmatum, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Nandina will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

Even though we covered a lot of care information for your English Laurel, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

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The English Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus) is an evergreen plant that’s known for its fast growth and green colored leaves. But if you want to have a healthy English Laurel at home, be sure to read on and follow our care guidelines.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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