Prunus laurocerasus

English Laurel

With rich evergreen foliage throughout the year and dense branches, the English laurel is a popular for those wanting a lush, formally pruned privacy screen. As it is a rather fast-growing shrub, the laurel makes an excellent choice for a taller hedge or border.

There are a number of immediate benefits to choosing the English laurel for your next hedge:

  • Lush evergreen through all seasons
  • Quite drought tolerant and requires little or no irrigation
  • Tolerates salt spray, which makes it great for coastal climates
  • With a very tall maximum height, it is ideal for a higher hedge or screen

The English laurel is well-suited to sunnier climates and is more drought-resistant than other shrub varieties, which makes it a popular hedge choice in the Southern U.S.

An English laurel in the wild can reach up to 40 feet in height, but keeping it around 10 to 12 feet tall makes it a perfect backyard screen.

The tiny clusters of cream-colored flowers that arrive in the spring are pleasantly fragrant and the namesake cherry-like fruit is beloved by a variety of local bird populations.

The English laurel thrives with more direct sun in cooler climates, while it prefers some shade in more extreme heat zones.

The shrub’s large, glossy evergreen leaves are beautiful and recover easily from shearing, which makes the plant great for regular prunings.

Native to parts of Europe and Asia Minor, the shrub has been a popular cultivated plant since at least 1576 and has been used in the United States since the colonial era.

As it is more salt-resistant than many other hedges, it is popular in warmer coastal regions.

The naturally oval-shaped habit can be pruned into unique shapes, should that be desired.


USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 - 8
Your Hardiness Zone:
ZIP CODE: 
Sun/Shade: Partial to Full Sun
Deer Resistance: Yes
Watering Requirements: Weekly, or possibly more often in extreme heat
Growth Rate: Fast
Mature Size: 12’ height and 8’ width for average landscape use
Drought Tolerance: High
West Coast - Sunset Heat Zones: 4 - 9 and 14 - 24
Pest/Disease Issues: Long-term health generally unaffected by pests. Mites, borers and caterpillars are attracted to the laurel. Moderately susceptible to shot-hole, powdery mildew and root rot.