Even though winter is well and truly knocking at the door, we’re still very much in garden mode here. Our green house is due for delivery this week and so my thoughts are never too far away on what our future garden will look like. We have a lot of space to cover and some very bare fences so I’ve been taking advice on what would make the garden look a little more vibrant.
Cherry Laurel, or Prunus laurocerasus to give it its Latin name, is one of the most popular hedge plants in the UK and it’s easy to see why. As an evergreen shrub, it provides year-long interest and colour in the garden and is ideal as privacy screening or a feature hedge. If you’re researching, Cherry Laurel is also commonly known as Common Laurel, Laurel Cherry and Versailles Laurel. You can find cherry laurel hedge for sale at Gardeners Dream and here are some tips if you’re considering it for your garden.
What is Cherry Laurel?
Cherry Laurel is a fast-growing shrub that is perfect as a hedge plant. It boasts long, glossy dark green leaves, which remain in place throughout the year. Racemes of small creamy white flowers bloom in spring. These have a delicate sweet fragrance and are followed by cherry-like fruit (hence the name) in autumn. The deep red berries soon morph into a dramatic shade of almost black. Despite looking like cherries, bear in mind these berries are toxic to humans and animals such as dogs, cats and horses, so ensure they don’t get consumed.
How Long Does It Take for Cherry Laurel to Grow?
Cherry Laurel hedges have a fast growth rate of around 30-60cm per year. This makes them popular hedging plants for people wanting to screen off areas of the garden, as they are a great way to create a thick hedge quickly. This would be ideal for us with a considerable amount of fence to cover.
How Big Will a Cherry Laurel Get?
When left to their own devices, Cherry Laurel plants can reach up to an impressive 8m (or 26ft) tall. They spread to over 8m and, without regular pruning, will reach their ultimate height in 20-50 years.
How Tall Should I let My Cherry Laurel Hedges Grow?
The fast growth rate of the Cherry Laurel means regular pruning is essential for keeping them at a manageable size and attractive shape. Laurel plants cope well with pruning and are happy to be kept tidy at sensible proportions.
Once Common Laurel reaches a certain height, it begins to take on the shape of a tree rather than a hedge. For this reason, it’s best to limit them to around 1.5-2m tall. This keeps your hedging plants at a manageable height but is also plenty tall enough to screen off areas of your outdoor space.
How Can I Speed Up My Laurel Growth?
While Cherry Laurel hedges are quick to grow, some care tips will promote even faster healthy growth.
Feeding and Watering
Like most garden plants, the key to healthy growth is appropriate feeding and watering. In the first year, ensure your new hedge plants are watered regularly, particularly during dry spells. Occasional feeding with an organic fertiliser will also help speed up growth for a tall, bushy hedge.
Cherry Laurel will tolerate shade, but thrives best in full sun or partial shade. It prefers moist but well-drained soil and grows well in most types of soil, including loam, sand, chalk and clay soils, though it may need extra watering when planted in heavy or sandy soil. Cherry Laurel hedging plants are relatively robust and don’t need a particularly well-sheltered spot to protect them from winds. They’re hardy to the harsh temperatures a British winter can bring.
Pruning can encourage new growth and promote a thicker, bushier hedge. For general hedge trimming, the best time to prune Laurel plants is late spring to early summer after flowering. However, if you’re pruning to encourage faster growth, it’s worth removing a little often. Removing dead or damaged branches as soon as possible also helps a Cherry Laurel hedge grow quickly.
Weeds take valuable nutrients and moisture from the ground, which prevents your Cherry Laurel from absorbing them. Regular removal of weeds will help your Laurel plants take in all the goodness from the soil, without having to share it with unwelcome wild plants.
What Months Do Cherry Laurels Grow?
Cherry Laurel’s growing season is mainly in spring and summer. Although this evergreen hedge provides year-round interest through its vibrant green leaves, Cherry Laurel’s growth will pause from late autumn to early spring. From April to October, you’ll notice considerable new growth in your Laurel hedge.
When to Plant Cherry Laurel Hedging
The best time to plant your new Cherry Laurel will largely depend on how it is delivered. Pot-grown and bare-root ball plants have slightly different ideal planting conditions.
Bare Root Plants
The best time for planting bare root Cherry Laurel in the garden is during the plant’s dormant season. Presuming the ground isn’t frozen or covered in snow, any time between November and March is ideal. If conditions allow, try to plant your new Cherry Laurel within a couple of days of delivery.
Container-grown plants supplied in pots are fine to be planted at any time of year. However, the optimum time is mid-autumn. This will afford the Cherry Laurel time to absorb as much water as possible from the moist soil before winter kicks in, allowing it to form a strong root network.
Planting Laurel is a classic-looking hedge that is easy to look after and grows quickly. Ever popular, it is often used to create a highly attractive privacy screen that also helps block out noise. The evergreen foliage, pretty white flowers and glossy berries provide interest throughout the year, and its fast-growing rate yields almost instant hedging.
I don’t mean to wish time away but I’m already excited for spring and all the new opportunities it will bring for the garden!
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