Prunus laurocerasus is a vigorous, large, spreading evergreen shrub which can grow if left over 20 or more years to a height of between 4 and 8m, and over 8m in width. However it is tolerant to cutting and regenerates well. Easy to grow in any moist but well drained soil in sun or partial shade it has a low maintenance requirement. It is a hardy shrub able to tolerate temperatures down to as low as minus 20 centigrade.
It has handsome, glossy dark green leaves which grow up to 15cm in length. The leaves are thick and leathery to the touch with a slender and broadly elliptical shape, making it an excellent shrub for providing drought resistant hedging and screens.
It produces small white flowers in erect racemes up to 12cm in length between May and June which are followed by cherry-like glossy red fruits which soon turn to black.
Also known as English Laurel and Common Laurel.
Other varieties are available such as P. laurocerasus Caucasica, and Rotundifolia.
Name: Prunus laurocerasus
Common name: Cherry Laurel
Height: up to 8 metres
Width: up to over 8 metres
Demands: Requires moist but well drained soil, sun to partial shade, tolerates heat if not to dry, happy sheltered or exposed in any aspect
Foliage: Thick and leathery, slender to broadly elliptical. Evergreen
Flower: White upright racernes May-June
Fruit: Cherries, red turning to black
Toxicity: Leaves and fruit can be harmful if ingested
Hardiness: Hardy in most of the UK even in severe winters
FACT: There is enough poison within the leaves to enable them to be used by etymologists as a way of killing insect specimens without physical damage.