Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)

Meet Prunus caroliniana, better known as a cherry laurel. This evergreen tree makes an excellent privacy screen and is great for attracting birds. It’s a native to the eastern United States from Florida on up to North Carolina. It very low maintanence as my parents can attest. Just plant it and water it then let it grow. They planted cherry laurels at at least two of their homes to use as privacy screens.

The dark green foliage is very attractive. Cherry laurels can be treated as shrubs and pruned accordingly or could be trained as a tree by cutting away the lower branches and removing suckers as they appear. They can grow between 20-40 feet tall. According to Floridata (a great place for information on individual plants) these trees are very easy to propagate either through seed or through cuttings. Can you guess what I’ll be doing soon?

On Friday I went to rake leaves at my parent’s house and took a few samples of the berries. I’ll place them in a planting bed and let them stratify naturally over the winter. Hopefully in the spring I’ll have some seedlings to pot up and eventually put into our landscape. It will definitely be nice to have more winter interest in our yard. Here is a single cherry ready for picking!


There were many more where that came from! In the spring time white flowers cover these trees. Often the foliage hides the flowers from view but a quick inspection will find them easily. They like full sun but are tolerant of shady places. I haven’t seen any pests or diseases on these cherry laurels which leads me to believe that they are relatively safe from either ailment.

What’s good about Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)?

  • Evergeen color
  • Spring Flowers
  • Fall Berries
  • Propagates easily!

7 thoughts on “Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana)

  1. Kim

    When I was growing up in Florida, we had cherry laurel trees which my mom hated – all that dropping of little black fruits. I haven’t seen any here in Maryland, but we do have the Otto Luyken variety of the shrub – I love them! I also planted some skip laurels – I think it’s Prunus laurocerasus Schipkaensis – and they are coming along nicely. They are supposed to get much larger than the Otto Luykens. As far as I’m concerned, cherry laurels are great!

  2. Dave

    As soon as I get a few minutes I’ll pop them in a garden bed somewhere. I’ve been busy over the last several days. I finally got to cleaning up the garage. We may actually be able to put a car in it this winter!

    Once I get a hold of a few cherry laurels I’ll plant them in the back where our deciduous trees are bare in the wintertime.

    Kim,

    They are related to the Schip laurel and the ‘Otto Luyken’ laurel. I like all three. The Schips are excellent for foundation planting and anywhere else you want a bit of green!

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