Trees

Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica)

Evergreens are a real wonder. They are relatively large plants, which provide shade and privacy (depending on the species) and which also usually bloom every spring-summer. The Prunus lusitanica is one of those that you should not rule out if you live in an area with a temperate climate: it is beautiful!…

… And it resists frost. It is true that those that are very intense harm it, but if it “only” drops to -8 degrees Celsius, you will not have any problem with it, rather the opposite . Taking care of it you will see that it is not difficult, and less with the advice that I am going to give you below.

Origin and characteristics of Prunus lusitanica

Our protagonist is an evergreen tree of the genus Prunus known as lauroceraso from Portugal, Portuguese laurel or parrot native to southwestern France, Spain (except the Balearic Islands), Portugal (including Madeira and Azores) and Morocco. It grows to a height of 15 meters, with a blackish brown bark.

The leaves are alternately arranged, oval, with a toothed margin, bright dark green on the upper surface and pale green without gloss on the underside. These are between 7 and 12cm long by 3 to 5cm wide, and remain on the plant for several months until they fall off as new ones emerge.

Its flowers are small, about 10 to 15mm in diameter, composed of five white petals, and are grouped in clusters of about 5 to 25cm. It blooms in spring. The fruit is a drupe of 8 to 13mm in diameter, which goes from green to black when it finishes maturing, and contains a seed inside.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:

Location

The Prunus lusitanica must be outside, in full sun. Its roots are not invasive, but it is advisable to plant it at a minimum distance of 5 meters from pipes, walls, etc. in order that it can have a good development.

Earth

  • Pot: it is not a plant that can be had for many years in one, but if it is young you can have it if you fill it with, for example, universal substrate.
  • Garden: grows in fertile soils, with good drainage.

Irrigation

Image – Wikimedia/ Javier sanchez goalkeeper

Water your lauroceraso of Portugal in a moderate way, avoiding long periods of drought as well as flooding. To give you an idea, if the climate is very hot and dry, it will be necessary to water an average of 3 to 4 times a week in summer and a little less the rest of the year.

Do not wet its leaves or flowers, only the earth as otherwise they will burn.

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Sometimes when we buy plants we only remember to water them. And that is a mistake. No living being needs only water to survive, and neither do plant beings.

For this reason, it is important that you fertilize your tree during the spring and summer months, with organic fertilizers, such as guano, mulch or compost.

In this case, we do not recommend compound/ chemical fertilizers, since the fruits are a delicious food for blackbirds, thrushes and warblers and these chemical products could pose a serious risk to these birds.

Multiplication

The lusitanica Prunus is multiplied by seeds in spring. To do this, you have to follow this step by step:

  1. First, put the seeds in a glass of water at room temperature.
  2. The next day, discard any that remain floating since they are most likely not viable (but you can still plant them separately, just in case).
  3. Then fill a seedling tray (like this one they sell here ) or biodegradable pots with seedbed substrate.
  4. Then, place the seeds on the surface and bury them a little (a 1-2 cm layer) with substrate.
  5. Finally, sprinkle a little with sulfur and water thoroughly.

Placing the seedbed outside, and keeping the substrate moist, will germinate in about two or three weeks.

Pruning

You don’t need it. Yes, it is advisable to remove the dry branches, the diseased ones and those that looked weak in late autumn or late winter.

Planting or transplanting time

It is planted in the garden in spring ; And if you have it in a pot, you have to transplant it every two or three years, always to one that has drainage holes.

Related article:Transplant plants

Rusticity

It resists freezes down to -8ºC.

What uses does it have?

Image – Wikimedia/ Cillas

It is used as an ornamental plant. Whether as an isolated specimen or even as a shrubby hedge, it is a very interesting species that does not need much care to be healthy.

The fruit is not toxic, but it has a bitter taste so its consumption is not recommended.

Out of curiosity, to tell you that it is a species that has become naturalized in the western United States, in other European countries: Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand.

What did you think of this tree?

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