How to Grow Cherry Laurel


Cherry laurel (prunus laurocerasus) is an evergreen shrub or small tree. The shrub is grown in landscapes for its light fragrance and ease of maintenance. Compact shrubs can grow to 18 feet high and 30 feet around, while tree forms may be 25 feet tall and up to 18 feet around. White clusters of 1/4-inch flowers form on the stems in late spring that hang down from the plant 2 to 5 inches. In summer, expect to see drooping oval fruit among the foliage, turning a dark purple/black. Birds will eat the dried fruit in the late summer; however, the fruit is poisonous to humans.

Step 1

Choose a full sun to partially shaded location for the cherry laurel shrub. Leave enough space surrounding the plant for it to grow to maturity. Check the directions that came with your plant for variety and spacing needs. Plan planting for spring.

Step 2

Dig a hole three times the diameter and 3 inches deeper than the container you purchased it in. Clean out any lawn turf, weeds and stones from the dug-out soil.

Step 3

Amend the dug-out soil to a ratio of one part compost to one part soil unless you have particularly sandy soil. In that case, reduce the ratio to one part compost to three parts soil. Place 4 inches of the amended soil back into the planting hole.

Step 4

Carefully remove the shrub from the container and place into the planting hole. Adjust the level of the plant so that it is at the same level it was in the container.

Step 5

Fill halfway up the root ball with soil and water to settle the soil around the roots. Continue to fill so the soil is level with the surrounding ground and water thoroughly.

Step 6

Water to keep the soil moist, but never soggy, throughout the spring and summer. Cut back watering in the fall to when the soil starts to feel dry. There is no need to water through the winter.

Step 7

Apply a well-balanced fertilizer once you start to see growth and again each spring. Follow the manufacturer's directions on amount to apply per use.

Step 8

Place a 3-inch thick layer of mulch under the spread of the cherry laurel plant. Keep the mulch at least 3 inches away from the trunk. The mulch will keep the weeds from growing and help to retain moisture.

Step 9

Prune to shape or reduce size in the fall. Cherry laurel does not mind being pruned lightly but most likely will not bloom if heavily pruned.

Tips and Warnings

  • The leaves, stems, flowers and fruit are poisonous on the cherry laurel plant. This is not a good landscaping plant for those with small children and pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Cherry laurel plant
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Texas: Native Plant Database
  • Gardening Yardener: Cherry Laurel
  • Backyard Gardener: Prunus lusitanica

Who Can Help

  • University of Conneticut: Prunus laurocerasus
Keywords: growing Cherrylaurel, Prunus laurocerasus, poisonous plants

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.