Garden Rik 24 januari 2023

Portuguese laurel hedge straight from the nursery

Are you already familiar with the Portuguese laurel? This plant is a wonderful addition to your garden. Solitary, it is a true showpiece but the shrub is mostly used as a hedge plant. Not surprisingly, as it is suitable for creating both high and low hedges. It grows equally well in any location, whether in full sun or shade. The Portuguese laurel is hardy. That means it does not lose its leaves, allowing you to enjoy shelter and privacy in your garden all year round. The dark green leaves are slightly serrated at the tips, are somewhat thicker and have a somewhat leathery feel. Combined with the deep pink coloured branches, the Portuguese bay laurel is a gem to behold.

Care of the Portuguese bay laurel

The Prunus lusitanica Angustifolia, the Latin name for the Portuguese bay laurel, can reach a height of around 5 metres when fully grown. However, that doesn't mean it spreads wide, making it very suitable for a smaller garden too. To keep its shape and height, prune the Portuguese bay once a year, at the end of the summer. If you do not do this, there is a chance that the branches will become too thick and you will need to use a saw. The best way to prune the laurel hedge is in a slightly pointed shape, tapering upwards. This way the lower branches also get enough light so that it becomes evenly dense again. Use sharp secateurs and prune on a cloudy, not too warm day. This prevents burning of the leaves.

Portuguese laurel hedge in bloom

In May or June, large, white flower clusters appear on the Portuguese laurel hedge. These are about 15 centimetres long and spread an attractive scent for butterflies, bees and birds. After flowering, around September, small berries appear on the Portuguese bay laurel. Where they are red at first, they turn black over time. Birds love these, for other animals and humans these berries can be slightly toxic if ingested.


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