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How to Care for Otto Luyken Laurel Plants

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Otto Luyken English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is a compact evergreen shrub plant that grows to a height of 4 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. It has dark green leaves that are 4 inches long, Otto Luyken flowers freely with white fragrant blooms, even when planted in the shade. The blooming period is early spring, in May or June. Otto Luyken makes a great hedge. Once the flowers die off, there are small purple to black-colored fruit, but they are usually hidden in the foliage of the plant. Care for Otto Luyken laurel plants to make them healthier and promote blooms.

Plant Otto Luyken in full to partial sun. Full sun means the planting area gets at least 6 hours of continuous exposure daily. Partial sun refers to filtered light, mostly in the afternoon hours.

Prune Otto Luyken immediately after the shrub flowers, so that you don't cut away buds that are forming for next season. Use pruning shears on a first-year bush, cutting the branches back by one-third to one-half their length. Do this again in the second season.

Pinch off the stem tips on young Otto Luyken plants by hand. This will encourage them to branch. Use this time to also remove dead or diseased wood.

Thin the shrub by removing entire branches that are crossing or rubbing each other, or growing in a wayward fashion. Place the cut where the branches meet the trunk. This will open the plant up to more sunlight and air, which limits the likelihood of disease.

Water Otto Luyken to keep the soil normal to moist. Add 1 inch of water per week during the growing season. Pay close attention to watering regularly when the shrub is establishing itself in the first 2 years.

Apply fertilizer in spring to promote growth. Add liquid fertilizer in with water, as per manufacturer's instructions. Granular fertilizer is another option. Simply sprinkle the desired amount around the base of the plant.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Water
  • Fertilizer


  • Water Otto Luyken once a week deeply, rather than frequently watering it slightly.


  • Don't shear Otto Luyken with hedge clippers because it will cause unsightly mutilated leaves. It's better to trim off individual branches.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.