English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus): The Ultimate Guide to a Lush Green Privacy Hedge

English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus): The Ultimate Guide to a Lush Green Privacy Hedge

The English Laurel, with its dense, evergreen foliage, is a favorite among gardeners and landscapers. Its ability to provide year-round privacy and aesthetic appeal makes it a top choice for hedges. In this detailed guide, we’ll explore everything there is to know about this versatile shrub.

Origins and History:

Native to regions in the Black Sea and southeastern Europe, the English Laurel has been cultivated for centuries. Its rich history includes being used as a symbol of victory and peace in ancient civilizations.


  • Appearance: Features broad, glossy, dark green leaves that remain vibrant throughout the year.
  • Height & Spread: Can grow up to 20 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide, making it ideal for tall privacy screens.
  • Flowers & Berries: In spring, it produces fragrant white flower spikes, followed by small black berries in the fall.

Planting and Care:

  • Soil: Thrives in well-draining, fertile soil. It’s adaptable to various soil types but prefers slightly acidic conditions.
  • Sunlight: While it can tolerate partial shade, it flourishes best in full sun.
  • Watering: Young plants require consistent moisture. Once established, they can tolerate short dry spells. A deep watering every 10-14 days is ideal for mature plants.
  • Pruning: To maintain a dense hedge, prune in late winter or early spring. Regular trimming encourages bushier growth.
  • Fertilization: Feed with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to promote vigorous growth.

Irrigation Recommendations:

A soaker hose or drip irrigation system is ideal. These systems deliver water directly to the root zone, promoting deep root growth and reducing water wastage. For a mature English Laurel, setting the system to run for about 30 minutes every 10 days should suffice.

Common Pests & Diseases:

While generally hardy, the English Laurel can sometimes be affected by pests like aphids and scales. Regular inspection and early treatment can prevent severe infestations. Fungal diseases can be avoided by ensuring good air circulation and avoiding overhead watering.

Landscaping Uses:

Beyond privacy screens, the English Laurel is also used as a windbreak, noise barrier, or even as a backdrop for flowering plants.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Q: How far apart should I plant English Laurel for a dense hedge?
  • A: For a thick hedge, plant them 4-5 feet apart.
  • Q: Are the berries of the English Laurel edible?
  • A: No, the berries are toxic and should not be consumed.
  • Q: Can the English Laurel thrive in containers?
  • A: Yes, with proper care, they can be grown in large containers or pots.


The English Laurel is more than just a hedge plant. Its rich history, combined with its aesthetic and functional benefits, makes it a valuable addition to any garden or landscape. With proper care, this evergreen shrub can provide beauty and privacy for years to come.

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