Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

The Prunus laurocerassus is a magnificent shrub or tree that can be as isolated specimen or as hedges of medium height. Its maintenance is very simple; in fact, its cultivation in temperate climates where rainfall is not very high is highly recommended.

In addition, it is one of those plants that tolerate pruning well, although yes: as long as it is done well, respecting the cycles of the species, otherwise we could lose it.

Origin and characteristics

Image – Wikimedia/ Zeynel Cebeci

It is a shrub or perennial tree whose scientific name is Prunus laurocerasus, although it is popularly known as laurocerasus, royal laurel, smooth laurel, parrot or cherry laurel. It is native to Asia Minor, although today it is very popular in temperate areas of Europe.

It reaches a height of up to 6 meters, and produces oval and leathery leaves up to 10cm in length, green. The flowers are grouped in axillary clusters of white color. And the fruit is a black cherry-like drupe, which is edible (except the seed, which is poisonous).

Its cultivation both in the garden and in a pot is highly recommended, since as you will be able to see for yourself if you dare to get a specimen, it is a species that does not give problems.

Main varieties

There are several:

  • Angustifolia
  • Caucasica
  • Japonica
  • Mangoliifolia
  • Otto Luyken
  • Parvifolia
  • Rotundifolio
  • Zabeliana

The most suitable for hedges is the Caucasica.

What are their cares?

If you finally get one, we recommend taking care of it in the following way:

Royal laurel location

It has to be placed outside, in full sun. It does not have invasive roots, but so that it can have an excellent development it is advisable to plant it at a minimum distance of 2-3 meters from walls, walls, tall plants, etc.


  • Flowerpot: with universal growing substrate it will do more than good . In any case, you can put a first layer of perlite, volcanic clay or similar to improve drainage.
  • Garden: grows in all types of soils, even limestone and compact. But he prefers the ones with good drainage.


The cherry laurel is a plant that needs a regular water supply, but without going to extremes; In other words, you don’t have to water daily, but don’t let a month go by between waterings. You have to know that during the summer you will have to water very often as the land dries quickly, but the rest of the year you will have to wait longer before giving it water.

So, to avoid problems, the ideal is to check the humidity before doing anything. To do this, you can use a digital humidity meter, insert a thin wooden stick (if it comes out with a lot of adhering soil when you extract it, do not water), or weighing the pot just watered and again after a few days.

And if you don’t trust it, tell you that, in principle, it should be watered 3-4 times a week in the middle of the warm season, and every 2-3 or 4 days the rest.


Guano powder.

During all the months that it is growing, that is, from March/ April to September/ October in the northern hemisphere, it has to be paid with organic fertilizers, such as guano (you can get it in powder here and liquid -ideal for pots- here ), Herbivorous animal manure, compost, egg and banana shells,…


It multiplies by seeds and cuttings in spring. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:


The step by step to follow is as follows:

  1. First, a forest seedling tray or 10.5cm diameter pot is filled with universal growing medium.
  2. Then, it is watered thoroughly and copper or sulfur is sprinkled to prevent the appearance of fungi.
  3. Immediately afterwards, the seeds are sown, putting two in each alveolus or three in the pot.
  4. Afterwards, they are covered with a layer of substrate and watered again, this time with a sprayer.
  5. Finally, the seedbed is placed outside, in semi-shade.

Thus, the seeds of Prunus laurocerasus will germinate in 2-3 weeks.


To multiply it by cuttings, just cut a piece of about 40cm, impregnate the base with homemade rooting agents and plant it in a pot with vermiculite, which you can get at this link.

If all goes well, it will emit its own roots after a month or so.


Royal laurel is pruned in late winter. You have to remove dry, diseased, weak or broken branches, and trim those that are growing too much.


It resists frosts down to -15ºC. It lives without problems in warm temperate climates where the temperature just drops below 0º and in summer it reaches 40ºC.

What uses does it have?

Image – Wikimedia/ Franz Xaver


The Prunus laurocerassus is cultivated as a garden plant or flower pot. And, either as an isolated specimen or in groups, or as hedges, it looks great queda.

Edible and medicinal

The berries are consumed fresh, and they are also especially useful when you have difficulty sleeping as they have a sedative effect.

What did you think of this plant?

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