Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech

(Prunus laurocerasus `Otto Luyken')


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 4 feet

Spread: 8 feet

Shape: Spreading

The species (Prunus laurocerasus) is generally not sold in the U.S. Cultivars of cherrylaurel are low-growing with handsome glossy foliage and white flowers in spring. This species tolerates shade and is used as a border, hedge, and in mass.

Plant Needs:

Zone: 6b (6a) to 9

Light: Full to partial shade to full sun

Moisture: Moist to dry

Soil Type: Sandy, loam, or clay loam

pH Range: 3.7 to 7.3


Suggested uses for this plant include hedge and massing.

Planting Notes:

Adapts well to sun or shade. Plant in well drained soils!

Salt tolerant.


Tolerates heavy pruning and shearing.


More disease and insect resistant than other Prunus species.

Root rot can be a problem if planted in a wet or poorly drained location.


Consult local garden centers historic or public gardens and arboreta regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

Cultivars of Prunus laurocerasus:

‘Otto Luyken’ has a distinct horizontal growth habit and is one of the most cold hardy cultivars.

`Schipkaensis' (Schipka Cherrylaurel) is a low-growing (5 feet tall) and wide spreading cultivar that is hardier (zone 5) than other cultivars.

‘Zabeliana’ grows to 5 feet tall and is quite wide spreading.

Generally cherrylaurel cultivars are sold in the nursery trade since the species is a large shrub/small tree.


This is a relatively slow-growing, wide-spreading shrub that forms a handsome hedge; it can also be used a background for other smaller plants.

Cherrylaurel is a good plant to use near the ocean because of its tolerance to salt spray.


This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 1, 2009

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