Planting cherry laurel: guide and expert tips


I study plant biotechnology and often find myself confronted with the serious consequences that lack of knowledge and misinformation can have for nature. That is why I am so passionate about bringing people and nature closer together again.

Favourite fruit: raspberries, strawberries and pineapple
Favourite vegetables: courgettes, broccoli and cucumbers

The cherry laurel can be found in many gardens. Find out here what you need to bear in mind when planting cherry laurel.

A cherry laurel shrub
Thanks to its site tolerance, there is a place for a cherry laurel in every garden [Photo: Irina Borsuchenko/]

Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). Compared to related fruit species such as apple and cherry, the evergreen plant is quite undemanding and quickly forms dense woody plants because of its enormous vigour. Because of these qualities, cherry laurel with its large leaves and delicate flowers is a popular hedge plant. But it is also a real eye–catcher as a specimen plant or cut into geometric shapes in a tub. Properly planted, they quickly form high and opaque boundaries to the neighbour, at a good 40 cm of growth per year. We have summarised below what you should bear in mind when planting cherry laurel in your garden.

The ideal location for cherry laurel

Due to their undemanding nature, especially in terms of location, cherry laurels are popular hedge plants. You are therefore not restricted in your choice of location when growing your hedge, as the cherry laurel thrives in sunny, semi-shady and shady places. Even with sandy or clay soils, the hedge plant has no problems. The only requirement is that the chosen spot should offer enough space and be free of waterlogging – after all, a fully grown cherry laurel can easily reach a height and width of three metres. Those who have less space in the garden can resort to narrow varieties such as ‘Caucasia’.

White blossom of cherry laurel caucasica
‘Caucasica’ is also suitable for small gardens [Photo: Eileen Kumpf/]

In sunny locations, you should also provide adequate protection from a sharp winter wind. Otherwise, you quickly run the risk of losing your cherry laurel due to black frost. Due to its competitive root system, you can plant your cherry laurel between trees without any problems. The deep-rooted plants also assert themselves against plants that do not like to share when it comes to nutrient and water supply.

Planting cherry laurel: step-by-step instructions

Once you have decided where to grow the bush, simply proceed as follows when planting:

  1. Planting distance: 80 – 100 cm
  2. Loosen soil widely
  3. Dig planting holes: For container plants, they must be significantly larger than the planting container; for balled plants, the roots must have space to spread; water the roots in a water bath for about half an hour beforehand
  4. Place a drainage layer of sand, gravel or shards of clay on the bottom
  5. Mix excavated topsoil with compost, manure or bone meal
  6. Mix sand into the topsoil if it is too heavy / compacted (due to high clay content)
  7. Place cherry laurel vertically in the planting hole
  8. Set the root ball so that it sits as deep as in the container
  9. Fill the planting hole – for example with Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost – and tamp down the soil well
  10. Water well
  11. Mulch with lawn clippings, bark mulch or wood chips
  12. Water during the growing season, as soon as the soil dries out superficially
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Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
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The drainage layer counteracts the formation of waterlogging. The drier the ground, the better the cherry laurel will tolerate frost later on. Feel free to plant the plants closer together. Depending on the variety and size of the plants at the time of planting, up to four plants per metre is quite reasonable. This way, your hedge will close after only two years. However, problems can arise later when the plants compete for each other’s space.

White blossom of the cherry laurel
Leave enough space between the plants, otherwise you may have space problems later on

Enough distance should also be kept from adjacent buildings or fences. Also keep in mind that later you will need to prune cherry laurels, and from all sides. Therefore, keep at least half the diameter specified for the variety, plus half a metre distance, so that your hedge will remain easily accessible to you later.

Note: Since cherry laurels grow very densely, they are not a good windbreak. The wind is not slowed down, but only swirled. This creates a substantial draught behind the hedge.

When is the best time to plant cherry laurel?

The best time for planting cherry laurel is autumn, between the end of August and early September. Then shoot growth is stopped and the plant can put all its energy into the roots, allowing your cherry laurel to grow quickly. For baled goods, autumn planting after purchase is mandatory. Container plants can also be planted in the ground throughout the growing season if necessary. However, you should limit yourself to the spring between the end of March and the beginning of May. Summer sunlight can cause huge problems for young plants if you do not reach for the watering can often enough.

Cherry laurel seedling
The small plants are still very sensitive. Therefore, plant on a frost-free and slightly cloudy day to give the cherry laurels an ideal start [Photo: PhotographyByMK/]

Always avoid wet, snow–covered or frozen ground. Even in the spring, do not plant when the sun is too strong, as the risk of sunburn is particularly high for stressed plants. Therefore, it is best to choose a slightly cloudy day for planting.

To ensure that your plant thrives in good health, we have compiled all the relevant points for the correct care of cherry laurels here.

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