Portuguese cherry laurel, Prunus lusitanica - care

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Portuguese cherry laurel, Prunus lusitanica - care: cherry

The Prunus lusitanica belongs to the plant family of the rose family. He is undemanding and forms a dense growth with time. As a heat-loving ornamental shrub, the Portuguese cherry laurel is extremely hardy and tolerates temperatures down to minus 20° C. On the other hand, it withstands extremely high temperatures and copes well with short periods of drought. The attractive flower clusters immerse the foliage of the Portuguese princess in a creamy white sea of ​​flowers. The hedge plant is similar to the true laurel, but is not related to him.

Origin and appearance

As the name suggests, the Portuguese wood is native to the Azores and Canary Islands, the Iberian Peninsula and southwest France. There she seeks sunny locations in juniper forests and crater canyons. However, the pure wild form can now be found almost nowhere. The Mediterranean plant derives its name from the Roman province of Lusitanica (today's Portugal).
Prunuslusitanica reaches a stature height of up to four meters in the home garden and occupies a width of up to two and a half meters in width. Depending on location and pruning, the plant grows in size from 20 to 35 cm in a year. The bushy and upright shrub shows its new shoots in a handsome red tone. The glossy leaves are leathery, dark green, ovate pointed and provided with a showy red petiole. The creamy white flowers stand upright and produce egg-shaped, dark-red drupes. The plant is well suited as a hedge can be cultivated as a container plant just as well.


To find the optimal location for the Mediterranean plant, it requires no great effort, as it is quite undemanding. Due to its origin, it is sun-drenched and therefore thrives best on a sunny to partially shaded spot. Although the Portuguese princess is heat-tolerant, it should be protected from the chilly east wind.


Also on the soil conditions, this variety of cherry orchards, which is all too happy with countless small white flower clusters, no special claims. Basically, the plant prefers a loose and well-drained soil. Such a soil ensures that no waterlogging in the roots can accumulate. Because waterlogging permanently damages the well-being of Prunus lusitanica. It is also advantageous if the wood is set in sandy-clayey, gritty-loamy or sandy-loamy soil.
Tip: To highlight the benefits of this plant, we recommend a nutrient-rich, slightly acidic to strongly alkaline soil.

to water

It has a positive effect on the appearance and the growth of the Mediterranean beauty, when it is poured less frequently but penetratingly. Thorough watering stimulates the roots of the plant to reach deeper layers of soil, thus surviving short dry spells.
Tip: In order to prevent fungal diseases, really should only be poured when the surface is dried out.


Basically, the Portuguese cherry laurel does not have to be fertilized. The ornamental shrub is well supplied for the first time, if when planting manure, horn chips or compost are introduced into the soil. Furthermore, commercial liquid fertilizer can be used so that the shrub is sufficiently supplied with nutrients. Fertilization will be discontinued from August, as otherwise too many new shoots will form that are sensitive to the coming cold.


Although the Prunus lusitanica can tolerate temperatures down to -20° C, the root area should not only be covered in young plants. For covering fir branches and leaves are suitable. An additional layer of mulch provides the Portuguese laurel with nutrients. Delicate little bushes, which have their first winter in front, are looking forward to a protection from branches. As evergreen wood, the cherry laurel needs sufficient water even in winter. Otherwise it reacts after the winter months with brown leaves. However, it is only poured on frost-free days.

To cut

Basically, the Prunus lusitanica can be cut back all year round - except in frosty weather and on hot summer days. The cutting takes place after the flowering period. The shoots are cut five to ten centimeters. This has the advantage that the plant thrives better and shows itself in full bloom in the next year. Of course, the shoot tips can also be trimmed in between. This creates more branches. For cutting, the mechanical hedge trimmer is recommended. An electric hedge trimmer can leave brown edges on the leaves.

planting time

Root products, ie plants without bales, are best planted by the end of April. In addition, the autumn offers perfect as a planting season.Containerware can be put into the ground all year round. In case of dryness, ensure that there is sufficient irrigation. The planting hole should be twice as big as the bale. Horny shavings, manure or compost can be used as long-term fertilizer. There are no more than three plants placed on a meter in the ground. Finally, water well.

Diseases and pests

The most common diseases of the cherry laurel are fungal diseases that severely affect the metabolism of the plant.


  • Flour-like topping on the leaves
  • Adolescent leaves are misshapen
  • Foliage turns yellow to brown
  • trained foliage is usually not affected
Shotgun disease
  • small, bright dots in the leaf area
  • red to brown spots on the leaves
  • Disease also affects fruits and leaves them crippling or tearing
  • sometimes shoots are affected
  • Remove infected leaves and dispose of them with household waste
  • Antifungal drugs insertion
  • possibly additional copper

Cherry laurel - Prunus laurocerasus

Woll lice, mealybugs, aphids and scale insects are also characteristic. It can also make sense to cut back here. To combat the lice, we recommend a solution of soft soap, which is enriched with a little alcohol. If this leads to no result, the trade holds appropriate preparations ready.

frequently asked Questions

  • How big is the plant and at which distance should the Portuguese cherry laurel be planted when growing a hedge?
Prunus lusitanica can reach a height of four and a half to six meters. The width varies between three to five meters. As a hedge no more than three plants per meter are planted.
  • Are the fruits of the Portuguese laurel poisonous?
All parts of the plant, including the fruits, are poisonous. Especially the leaves and seeds have a high poison potential. After consumption, the glycosides contained in the plant parts release hydrogen cyanide in the stomach. More than ten seeds can be deadly.
  • How do yellow leaves explain themselves after repotting?
Repotting means changed living conditions for the cherry laurel. Here it is enough to cut back the affected branches. If the wood is cultivated as a container plant, the vessel must have a sufficient size. In addition, it is advisable to drain, so that rainwater can drain away unhindered.

Worth knowing about the Portuguese cherry laurel shortly

  • The Portuguese cherry laurel has no special requirements for the soil, it is satisfied with a very ordinary garden soil.
  • He likes best a sunny or partially shaded location.
  • Because the plant is native to the Iberian Peninsula, the Azores and the Canaries, it is also very heat tolerant.
  • In its homeland, however, the Portuguese cherry laurel is rarely found in the wild.
Planting and winter care
  • The best planting time is for root crops, ie plants without pot bales, the spring to the end of April.
  • In contrast, plants in a container can be planted throughout the year.
  • In dry weather, however, should be paid to a sufficient irrigation.
  • Although this cherry laurel is very hardy, new plants should still get winter protection in the first year.
  • Young plants can also be sensitive to strong winter sun or cold wind.
Cut of cherry laurel
  • Basically, the Portuguese cherry laurel can be cut throughout the year.
  • Exceptions to this are only the times when it freezes and the summer months, when it is very hot and dry.
  • For gardeners, however, especially the time around the St. John's Day on 24 June is a popular period for a cut.
  • In general, it is sufficient to shorten the shoots once a year by about 5 to 10 cm.
  • However, the shoot tips can also be trimmed more often because they form more branches.
Tip: Because when using an electric hedge trimmer slightly brown edges form on the leaves, it is advisable to cut especially young plants by hand.
As a hedge plant, the Prunus lusitanica is well suited because he is up to two meters high and can grow up to 30 cm per year. Even in width it can reach dimensions of up to one and a half meters. It forms many branches, so that the hedge is very tight and thus forms a good privacy. The more cut, the thicker the hedge becomes. Depending on the size of the plants, two to three plants per meter are needed for one hedge.

Video Board: The Ultimate Hedge?.

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