Properties of Portuguese Laurel plants
- Portuguese laurels, also known as Prunus lusitanica are moderately fast growing evergreen hedge plant.
- They usually grow 30-50cms per year.
- Portuguese laurels are conical in shape with dark glossy green leaves and red stems.
- Unlike the more commonly used Cherry Laurel plants, Portuguese laurels are slower growing and much darker in colour.
- They are however similar to the Cherry Laurel in that they are evergreen and will hold their foilage and colour in Winter months.
- This makes the Portuguese laurels an ideal option for a garden hedge as a mature hedge offers security, shelter, privacy and noise reduction while maintaining a glossy green Winter appearance.
- Laurel Hedging , Box-Hedging and Photinia Red Robin are other examples of evergreen hedging.
The leaves of the Portuguese laurels are conical in shape, pointed at the tips, dark green in colour with red stems. Small, fragrant white flowers up 25cm in length are seen on the Portuguese laurels in early summer. These flowers are followed by small, dark purple fruits in Autumn months. These flowers and berries make them an attractive hedge for bees and other insects.
Benefits of hedging to Biodiversity & Ecosystems
Planting a hedge of any type including Portuguese laurel hedges in the garden is a great way to encourage biodiversity and preserve ecosystems. A hedge in the garden provides shelter, security and habitats for nesting birds, food for birds and insects and also acts as a network and mechanism for small animals to move around the garden and populate.
How & When to Plant your Portuguese Laurel Hedge
- Portuguese Laurels are best planted from pots in Ireland.
- Bare root Portuguese laurels do not do well in the cooler Irish climate until the plant is well established.
- Therefore, we grow the plants in 2L pots initially, which can be planted out into the garden.
- These 3L plants, have been potted on from 2L plants. They are approx 80-90cms tall and are incredibly bushy and strong.
- Owing to the fact that the plants are grown in pots, they can be planted any time of the year, as the root system has been established in the pot.
- Portuguese laurels are traditionally planted 12 inches apart to provide a fuller hedge in quicker time frame. Portuguese laurels can be planted 18 inches apart.
- If a Portuguese laurel is planted in a warm or dry period, it should be watered regularly to ensure it’s growth.
Tips & Tricks for looking after your Portuguese Laurel Hedge
- Portuguese laurels grow well in shade or in full sun.
- They are ideal plants for most soil types and pH’s but do not like very wet ground.
- It is important to keep plants watered in the first year of growth.
- Although traditionally a Mediterranean plants, Portuguese laurels will survive in temps as low as -23C.
- Portuguese laurels are not as fast growing as Cherry laurels, but like cherry laurels will take a trimming well.
- Trimming is usually done in late Spring or Summer when new growth appears on the hedge.
- Trimming encourages new bushy growth.
- When planting Portuguese laurels, make sure the area is clear of weeds to avoid competition for the plants.
- Dig a trench or hole deep enough to cover the roots.
- Remove the plant from the pot and place in the trench.
- Be careful not to damage the delicate root system.
- Break up the removed soil well to encourage aeration of the soil.
- Shovel back in this soil and walk in the plant well.
- Keep the plant well walked in for the coming weeks, especially after windy conditions.
After care for the Portuguese laurels.
Portuguese laurel leaves turn yellow as a response to stress. This stress can be a result of under watering or over watering of the plants.
Type: Moderately fast Growing
Soil: nutrient rich moist soil
Status: Hardy in cold weather,
Position: Sun or light shade
Flowering: White flowers in spring
Footage of our Natural Nursery can be viewed on Carlow LEO