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- Position: full sun, partial shade or shade
- Soil: moist but well-drained soil, except shallow chalk
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: April
- Flower colour: white
- Other features: lovely leaves with bright carmine red stalks
- Hardiness: fully hardy
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A lovely large, evergreen shrub that has dark green leaves with red stalks. Small white, slightly fragrant flowers are borne on long racemes in early summer, and often followed by small, red fruit which eventually turn dark purple. The fruit is harmful if eaten. Portugal laurel is an excellent hedging plant and it can even tolerate chalky soils.
- Garden care: When planting incorporate lots of well-rotted garden compost in the planting hole and stake firmly. Prune in either spring or summer. Mature plants can tolerate hard pruning in spring, cutting back to the old wood.
- Seed kernels harmful it eaten
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Comments about Prunus lusitanica:
We got two of these last year to grow as wall cover. They have not grown much yet but are looking very healthy. We were simply after a wall cover which is not a climber but were pleasantly surprised by how attractive these shrub are.
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There is a two storey building at the back of my house that I am looking to screen with plants (no windows, so no lighting issues for neighbours) it is in complete shade but wanting something that will grow the height of the building. Will this do the trick or can you recommend something else that will grow that height in the shade?Asked on 23/3/2015 by glbamber from Lancashire
This plant will take some shade as long as it isn't in deep shade,- most plants need some light.
It can grow up to 20m but it can take between 20-50 years for it to reach maturity depending on where it is grown, the light levels, water, nutrient etc.
Hope this helps.Answered on 2/4/2015 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:How do you prune laurel bushesAsked on 29/9/2014 by dippy from derbyshire
Prunus lusitanica does not require any special pruning, but as it gets quite big you may want to restrict its size. This should be tackled in late spring or early summer, cutting back to the stem overly long shoots. If a more radical approach is needed, then they are fairly tolerant and can be cut back very hard in early spring.Answered on 30/9/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:Informal Hedge planting
Hi I am thinking of planting an informal hedge at the back of the garden,-the width is 18ft, and I am thinking of using Prunus lusitanica - Portuguese Laurel. How many will I need to buy, what size and how far apart would I need to plant them?Thank you in advance for your help. Best regards AnthonyAsked on 15/4/2010 by anthony howell
A:Hello again, These are one of the toughest, most shade-tolerant shrubs, so if this doesn't grow you will have problems getting anything established. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 16/4/2010 by anthony howell
A:Hello Anthony, To create a nice, thick screen, we recommend these are planted at 45cm (18") intervals, so you will need around 12 plants. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 15/4/2010 by anthony howell
A:Hi Helen I'm sorry but I forgot to mention that the area is mostly shady for the majority of the day. Is this the right plant or is there an alternative? Thanks for your helpAnswered on 15/4/2010 by anthony howell
These plants make wonderful hedges and should be planted at 30 - 45cm intervals. We sell plants in 3 litre pots, which will be around 30 - 40cm tall, so you should get a decent screen in just a few years.
I hope this helps,Answered on 19/2/2013 by Helen from Crocus
Q:Hedging and Osmanthus plants
Dear Crocus, I am looking for two Osmanthus burkwoodii plants but notice on your website that you only offer them for sale in 2 litre size. Do you have any larger Osmanthus burkwoodii plants? I am also looking for suggestions on which plants would make a good hedge. I am looking for something hardy, able to stand the frost, evergreen, not poisonous to horses and if possible, not just green possibly red / purple or variegated, any thoughts? Also, as these plants are grown in Surrey, will they be suitable to grow in the Scottish Borders? Many thanks, JaneAsked on 29/11/2009 by Janey Mitch
A:Hello Jane, I'm afraid we have all the plants we sell displayed on our website so we do not sell larger sizes of the Osmanthus. As for the hedging, if you click on the link below it will take you to our full range of hedging plants. Unfortunately we do not have anything that meets all your criteria, but if you click on the smaller images it will give you a lot more information on hardiness levels (fully hardy means they can cope with the weather in Scotland) as well as leaf colour etc. Unfortunately though I do not have a list of plants which are not poisonous to horses, but your local vet may be able to help you with this. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/hedging/plcid.30/ Best regards, Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 30/11/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Katsura tree in a pot and pruning a Laurel?
Dear Crocus I am determined to have a Katsura tree even though our soil is more clay than acid. Would this tree be ok in a pot in ericaeous compost mixed with another compost, and can it be kept manageable in terms of size? Second question please. We bought a Portuguese laurel and it needs to be moved to a pot - can it be trained as a standard/tree even though it now has two quite mature stems forking at the base? I am nervous to cut it in case it does not recover. With thanks - and I will have more questions at the open day! RosemaryAsked on 1/10/2009 by Rosemary Waugh
A:Hello Rosemary, These trees will grow in neutral to acidic soil, so as long as your soil pH is not too alkaline it should be fine in the garden. It will be OK in a really large pot filled with either John Innes No3 or ericaceous compost for a year or two, but in the long term it won't be too happy, so you should aim to plant it out. As for the laurel, they are pretty tolerant of hard pruning, but the best time to tackle it is late spring or early summer. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 2/10/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:How do I plant my Cherry blossom tree?
Hi, What is the depth of hole I should dig for the Cherry tree 10L pot please? What type of compost should I use? Should I plant the pot the plant comes in as well or remove it before planting? How often should I be watering this tree if I plant it within the next two weeks? i.e. Ever other day for two weeks, etc. Regards, ScottAsked on 30/6/2009 by Scott Gilmour
A:Hello Scott, You should dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the existing rootball of the plant. You should then dig in lots of composted organic matter (or John Innes No 3 compost) and backfill until the plant will sit (without its pot) at the same soil level as it had in the pot. You can then gently backfill the sides around the rootball and firm it down without compacting it. As for watering, this will depend on a number of factors, but to be sure all you need to do is keep an eye on it and water it when the surrounding soil feels dry. We do have an article on how to plant on our site which you may find useful - just click on the following link to go straight to it. http://www.crocus.co.uk/features/_/artcat.114/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 4/7/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:What evergreen shrub can you suggest?
I am trying to find something evergreen to use for a privacy screen. I have limited space, so need to plant using a large pot rather than in the ground. The main stumbling block that I have is that the area gets sun for only half the day and it is also a very windy and cold area. I would like something that is fast growing to about 2m tall and wide. Can you suggest anything that fits the bill?Asked on 7/10/2005 by Mark Hill
A:There are a couple of very tough evergreen shrubs, which should fit the bill - here are some of the best. 'Prunus laurocerasus Rotunifolia' http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-laurocerasus-rotundifolia/classid.4306/ Portugese Laurel http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-lusitanica-/classid.4309/ Mahonia http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=mahoniaAnswered on 10/10/2005 by Crocus
Q:Help with creating a windbreak
I live in Scotland and during the last weekend an old lilac bush blew down. The garden is small and north facing and is very exposed. I am at a loss as to what to plant as very little survives in the wind.Asked on 13/5/2005 by S A Morgan-Jones
A:Exposed gardens like yours do present a problem so the best thing to do is to plant a windbreak which will act as a shelter for other plants within the garden. This will then widen the choice of plants that you can use. Here's a list of large windbreak plants that can be used as the first line of defence. Hawthorn http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=crataegus Sycamore http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=acer+pseudoplatanus In front of these, it is a good idea to plant tough evergreen shrubs to further cut down the wind and provide and attractive background for the 'real' plants - here are some of the best. Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-laurocerasus-rotundifolia/classid.4306/ Prunus lusitanica http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/hedging/prunus-lusitanica-/classid.4309/ Mahonia http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=mahonia Once these have established and cut down the wind, you can plant almost any type of plant you want.Answered on 16/5/2005 by Crocus
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