Laurel Care & Information

Laurels – Prunus laurocerasus rotundifolia

(cherry laurel, common laurel)

A vigorous dense evergreen shrub with large glossy bright green leaves. A robust plant suitable for hedging & screens, 1.5-5m high. Hardy and easy to grow . Tolerant of most soils including heavy clay, but not suitable for seaside planting or very alkaline soils. Tolerates dense shade. Leaves and berries are poisonous.

Average growth rate: 30-60cm per yr depending on site & location

Ground Preparation.

Ensure planting area is free from perennial weed.

Dig to one spade’s depth, incorporate organic matter to improve soil structure. 50/50 mix of soil + multi-purpose compost will give the root system a good start.

Rec. Spacing depends on size of plants chosen:

P9s      45-60cm (18”-2ft) apart

3L&4L  60cm (2ft)  apart

7L        60-75cm (2ft-30”)apart

15L      1m apart

Container grown plant will be quicker to establish than bare-root or root balls which have been disturbed by digging up, checking their growth initially.

Container grown plants are available all year

Bare-root available from Nov-mid Mar.

Root ball available from end Oct-end Mar.


Once you have received your plants, if you are not planting straight away, unpack carefully.

Container plants keep upright and well-watered, but not soggy, until ready for planting.

Bare-root plants should be heeled-in to a shallow trench if not planted immediately to ensure roots don’t dry out and are protected from frost.

Root ball plants, again heel-in if not planting immediately and keep root ball moist and frost free.

If ground is frozen when you receive your plants delay planting until the soil is workable again, keep your plants in a frost-free shed,cover roots with damp paper or moist straw and plastic sheet to prevent them drying out until weather conditions improve.


Having prepared your site properly and decided on the spacing between plants,

mark off the correct spacing measurement on a piece of wood as your guide. Use a line between two canes to ensure you plant in a straight row.

Bare-root plants- place roots in a bucket of water to give them a good drink. Check the stems to find the mark where the soil was  before they were dug up, so that you ensure you plant at the same depth – no deeper.  Back fill with soil and firm plant in well. Use your heel for this but don’t stamp on them!

Root ball plants will have arrived with a fabric wrapping around roots – remove this before planting and water well before proceeding as above.

Container grown – remove pot, submerge root ball in bucket of water to fully saturate before planting, Check you plant each laurel at the same depth as it was growing in the pot and continue as above.

After planting check your new hedge regularly and ensure you keep the roots moist. Remember it’s moist not soggy soil your plants require and don’t just assume that if it has rained you don’t need to check.

A leaky hose laid along the length of the hedge will help with watering while the plants are becoming established.

At end of Feb/Mar add a general fertiliser.

(eg Growmore) to the soil. A bark mulch may also be applied to conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.

Once your plants begin to establish, trim to shape in July/August.

Your laurel hedge may take ten years to establish.  It won’t require too much maintenance, but an annual prune will encourage strong growth and a good shape.