Since the laurel cherry is an evergreen plant and also grows quickly, it is often used for hedges. In addition, the wood is well tolerated by pruning. The only disadvantage of numerous varieties is that the plants are not winter hardy indefinitely. In extremely cold winters or in very unfavorable weather, it often happens that large parts of the laurel cherry do not survive the winter. In spring the plants look terrible, brown leaves, dead branches, a sad sight. However, in most cases the laurel cherry will sprout again. You don’t get the root ball to die off that quickly.
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It is important to know that the cherry laurel is not a species of laurel. Rather, the laurel cherry is a relative of cherry and plum. There are numerous different varieties. They are distinguished by their growth height, flowering, appearance and winter hardiness. When it comes to breeding today, the main thing is to breed plants that defy frost and cold. This explains why wild species are significantly more sensitive to frost than new breeds, called neophytes.
We have put together a lot of interesting facts about the cherry laurel here. Inform yourself!
The location is often decisive for how well a cherry laurel survives the winter. Actually, the plants like the sun, but in winter that can be dangerous. Biting easterly winds, high sub-zero temperatures and bright sunshine is a combination that is not good for the cherry laurel. Leaf damage is inevitable.
- Sunny location
- Partial shade or shade is sometimes better if cold easterly winds often occur there.
- A wind-protected location is ideal, but this is usually difficult.
- Can also grow under trees as they are competitive deep rooters.
Cherry laurel is not very demanding when it comes to soil. This is one of the reasons why the plant is so popular. If an unnatural number of leaves fall off from your cherry laurel, this is a sign that something is wrong with the location.
- Cherry laurel prefers humus and nutrient-rich soil.
- Also copes with rather dry and sandy soils.
- The drier the soil, the more frost hardy the laurel cherry is.
- Moderately acidic to alkaline soil is tolerated.
- No soil compaction!
- No waterlogging in the ground!
The laurel cherry is easy to plant. Usually potted plants are offered. Baled goods are also on offer. Balled goods are available from around September and should be planted immediately. Container goods can be planted all year round, except of course during frost. It is important that the roots can absorb a lot of water before planting. So put the whole bale in water until no more air bubbles rise.
- Dig the planting hole slightly larger than the root ball.
- Enrich the soil with some humus. Insert watered bale.
- Add soil and stamp everything properly.
- Pour plenty!
- In the first few weeks after planting, the soil should not dry out!
- When planting hedges, count two to three plants per meter. It depends on the size of the specimens purchased.
- Balled plants are wrapped with jute in the root area. Wire baskets around the roots are also common. Do not remove either before planting, just loosen it.
watering and fertilizing
Cherry laurel is sensitive to moisture. On the other hand, it copes well with drought. However, it is still not recommended to leave it to dry for a long time. This weakens the plants and makes them susceptible to diseases and pests. There are different opinions when it comes to fertilizing.
- Water only when the top layer of soil has dried!
- Absolutely avoid waterlogging! Install training if necessary!
- Fertilizing is particularly important for young plants so that they develop well and are resistant.
- Fertilize in the spring so that the plants regain their strength. A long-term fertilizer such as compost or horn shavings is beneficial.
- It makes sense to fertilize again at the end of May or beginning of June. A potash-oriented fertilizer is best so that the shoots can mature by winter.
- Manure as a fertilizer is ideal for cherry laurel. Many hobby gardeners swear by horse or cow manure. However, it must not be fresh, but well seasoned.
If the cherry laurel is not cut, extremely large plants will develop. In their homeland they are 7 to 9 meters high. Here in Central Europe, the trees only reach a height of 4 meters. If that’s too big for you, you have to cut it. Cherry laurel tolerates pruning very well and reliably sprout again even from old wood.
- If you cut back just before they begin to sprout, the time in which the plants look a little plucked is very short.
- Cut by hand to avoid splitting leaves. The electric hedge trimmer shreds them, it doesn’t look good.
- Thin out free-growing hedges or shrubs.
- The laurel cherry also copes with severe pruning (returning to the stick).
- If the plant survived the winter well, only cut out dried and diseased or dead material!
The right location is the best prerequisite for the cherry laurel to survive the winter well. You should also pay attention to particularly resistant varieties when buying! It’s difficult to pack the plants and that wouldn’t help much either, because it’s drought damage that makes the plants unsightly.
- Cherry laurel in a tub is best protected from the wind and well packed.
- Styrofoam plates and bast mats protect against ground frost.
- If you wrap the whole cherry laurel, you can fill up the empty space with leaves or straw.
- It is important not to forget to water. Water whenever there is no frost!
Cherry laurel is not exactly cheap when you get hold of it. Slightly larger specimens in particular cost a lot if you want to plant a hedge with them. If you have time and patience, you can grow your own cherry laurel hedge.
- Lowerers usually root within a few months.
- Steklings multiplication is also possible and not difficult. High humidity is important for this. The easiest way to root them is in water.
- Sow in spring or autumn.
- Plants often reproduce by self-seeding. Ask neighbors or acquaintances who already have a hedge for young plants that can be carefully removed from the ground.
diseases and pests
Cherry laurel is resilient except when it comes to frost. It is rarely attacked by diseases and pests. Fungal diseases can occur naturally, but no plant is immune to them. The most damage is still caused by the vine weevil. Shotgun disease can also occur.
- Shotgun disease – fungal disease (Stigmina carpophila), recognizable by circular yellow to brown spots, mainly on young leaves. The affected tissue dries up and detaches from the leaf. There are holes in the leaves. To be controlled with fungicides. You should not only use a single agent, but change it.
- Powdery mildew and downy mildew can occur. Since it is also a fungal disease, spraying with fungicides is also advisable here.
- Vine Weevil – Larvae eat roots, beetles eat leaves. The pest can be recognized by the corrugated or indented leaf edges. You can only collect beetles that fight the larvae with HM nematodes (roundworms)!
- Damage in winter – mostly due to lack of water during frost. The plant evaporates a lot of water through the leaves. When the ground is frozen, it cannot absorb water from the ground. The brown leaves are therefore drought damage.
Common cherry laurel varieties for the garden
- ‘Otto Luyken’ – not so vigorous and tall, spreading, ideal for low hedges in the front yard. Uncut, this cherry laurel grows 1.50 to 2 meters high and 2 to 4 meters wide.
- ‘Rotundifolia’ – fast-growing, upright, ideal for high hedges. Uncut it will be 5 meters high and 4 meters wide.
- ‘Cherry Brandy’ – new variety, very hardy, wide growing, not very high. Uncut, it grows 0.5 to 0.9 meters high and 2 to 3 meters wide.
- ‘Mano’ – very hardy, creeping cherry laurel, spreading growth. Uncut approximately 1 meter high and 1 meter wide.
- ‘Leander’ – vigorous, about 2 x 2 meters
- ‘Herbergii’ – very hardy, very dense, slow growing, 3 meters high and 1.50 meters wide
A healthy cherry laurel in the garden makes a difference. Even a hedge looks healthy. The plants are extremely popular, although they are poisonous and frost damage occurs again and again. Important in areas with cold winters is the right choice of variety and a location that does not get much winter sun and is protected as much as possible. The care is not difficult. The plants are quite undemanding.