English Laurel Cuttings (Otto Luyken, Skip Laurel)

This weekend we ventured up to my wife’s parents house. I’m always looking for something plant or garden related to get into so I braved the 30 degree temperatures for a little while to see what I could find. I decided to take some more dwarf English Laurel Cuttings (Prunus laurocerasus popular varieties are ‘Otto Luyken’ and ‘Schip Laurels’.) in the front yard. I just can’t help myself. When there is an opportunity to get new plants I take it!

Rooting a Dwarf English Laurel

I took four cuttings back in the fall and managed to get them to root fairly easily and from what I’ve read others have found that they are extremely easy to root. If you haven’t tried propagating plants before English laurels (Prunus laurocerasus) might be a close second behind willows as an easy plant to propagate and might be a good one to try.

These plants look great when full grown. Here is a picture of one the mother plants where I took my cuttings. I suspect this is ‘Otto Luyken’ as it is the most common one planted in this area but I don’t know for sure.

Prunus laurocerasus

I ended up taking eight cherry laurel cuttings and followed the same standard cutting procedure as I did for the pyracanthus I posted about earlier in the week. Below you can see the 8 cuttings arrayed on the paper towel. (I used a wet paper towel to help maintain their moisture until I had a chance to plant stick them.)

The cuttings are about 6 to 8 inches in length. I stripped the bottom leaves away from the cuttings. That’s where roots will eventually form.

Cuttings of Prunus laurocerasus

I used two old Gatorade drink bottles for temporary propagating pots. Nearly any container, if properly cleaned, can be used for this. For these cuttings I used sand as the rooting medium but you could also use a peat/vermiculite type of mix. (Edit for 2020 I’m currently rooting a lot of my plants in organic potting soil.)

Prunus laurocerasus cuttings being rooted in sand

Winter is a good time to take cuttings of many evergreens just like these dwarf English laurel cuttings. I kept these little laurels inside until the warmer weather came to stay. Cuttings that have already been outdoors for a while can be fine if kept outdoors or in a sheltered location.

2020 UPDATE: Two of the dwarf English laurel cuttings were planted at my parent’s house where today they are about 4ft x 4ft with routine pruning.

14 thoughts on “English Laurel Cuttings (Otto Luyken, Skip Laurel)”

  1. What a beautiful shrub! I hope you’re successful with your propagation efforts. I’d like to do the same with my grandma’s Physocarpus ‘Diabolo.’

  2. Pamelia,

    Ironic isn’t it! 😉 I don’t think that they are called English laurels in England, just cherry laurels. Great plants either way! They are called both here although English might be more common.

  3. Dave,

    In fact these are not English at all, they are of Eastern Europe origin, and were introduced in England in the XVI century

  4. They make great privacy hedges, (ours got HUGE!) but we need to remove ours becasue the dogs ate the berries and got sick. When I looked it up on Wikipedia, the fruit is edible, but not the seeds which are cyanagetic. (contain cyanide) The other parts of the plant are poisonous as well, and with dogs and small children, I just don't want to risk it…

  5. Dear Dave
    I am new to rooting cuttings but I have successfully rooted softwood laurel cuttings in a similar method to the one above except I used milk bottles. Can you root hard wood cuttings in water and when would you do it? Thank you From Elizabeth

  6. Hi Elizabeth!

    I haven't tried it in just water before. It might be an interesting experiment. If you were to try hardwood cuttings I would do it in late fall or early winter just after most plants have gone dormant. I usually do greenwood cuttings in late spring or early summer.

  7. Dear Dave
    If I take the hardwood cuttings in early winter and keep them inside in water what month would you advise planting them out. (In the north of England) Thank You From Elizabeth

  8. Elizabeth,

    I would wait until after all danger of frost. Normally hardwood cuttings would be done outside (in a coldframe) and they would remain dormant until spring weather arrives. By bringing them indoors you will break dormancy so you won't want to put them out again until all danger of frost has past.

  9. I live in Delaware and I took cuttings of my English Laurel in the Middle of March. They are sitting in glass cups. Some are turning yellow! Do you think I will be successful? Can you give me some clues to successful rooting of cuttings?
    Marc W. from Wilmington Delaware USA

  10. Hello Elizabeth and all.
    Last year, here in The Thatched Cottage, Lingfield, Surrey, UK, I pruned my laurel, collected the berries and planted them in a flower pot in garden soil with a sprinkling of builders sand on top. Popped them into a plastic bag, left them out all winter and forgot them. And wow! About 80% success. Lovely little laurels about 2" high now. Very pleased with myself…and them!

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