Evergreen cherry laurel shrubs have glossy leaves, hardy natures, and more than 40 cultivars to choose among to suit nearly any purpose (hedge, ground cover, privacy screen) in USDA growing zones 5 to 9.
Foamy white spring flowers
Cherry Laurels: A Field Guide
Cherry laurels bloom in spring and an easy way to remember the habits of this evergreen flowering shrub is to memorize the line from A.E. Housman’s poem, To an Athlete Dying Young: “And early though the laurel grows, It withers quicker than the rose.”
Despite the brief flowering season, Prunus laurocerasus is not a shrub to underestimate. Cherry laurels can grow quite tall and at heights of 25 feet the common cherry laurel can appear more tree-like than shrubby. They spread quickly, and densely, especially in moist climates and can become invasive if not kept in check. The good news is that among the plant’s 40 or so cultivars are well-behaved varieties to grow as hardy hedges, screens, and ground covers. Among our favorites are compact ‘Otto Luyken’ (up to 4 feet tall and 8 feet wide); slow-growing ‘Zabeliana’ (4 feet high and 12 feet high at maturity), and the narrow-leafed hedging plant Schipkaensis’.