Laurel hedge

Question: Laurel hedge that does not grow

I am kindly requesting information regarding this problem: the laurel plants that I have placed to make a hedge in my garden have not registered any significant growth for a year in this part even though they sprouted during the summer.
I thank you for your precious advice.
Luca Copparoni.

Answer: Laurel hedge not growing

Dear Luca,
It is likely that the problem of your plants is related to the type of soil in which they are located. Now how do you know the laurel plants (probably in your case)
it is lauro cerasus) they are very vigorous and require little care. There are two main problems. The first is that the leaves are almost every year attacked by fungal diseases (bad white in the head) so they must be treated with fungicides (also as a preventive measure). The second is that they are very vigorous plants, so that within a relatively short time (5-10 years) they tend to lose their leaves in the part
lower trunk. In your case, however, plants do not seem to give great results. If the plants have been planted recently, they may not yet have them
rooted well. It may also be that it is a particularly poor terrain and that it is
therefore there is not enough organic substance. Finally, they may not be sufficiently watered. If on the other hand the soil is not sufficiently drained and the waterings have been frequent it is possible that the plants have been attacked by root rot.
I would tend to exclude, instead, attacks on the roots by parasites.
I therefore believe that plants should give good results with good nitrogen fertilization (not too much!) And adequate watering.
Unfortunately they are not able to give you more precise indications, not having much information. Do not hesitate to contact us again, if you wish, perhaps adding some other details that can help us.

The Lauroceraso hedge

The lauroceraso is one of the most appreciated shrubs for the creation of formal and informal hedges. It is in fact a medium rustic essence, vigorous and resistant to adversity, very tolerant of pruning. Its persistent leaves are large, of a beautiful glossy dark green: ideal for creating backgrounds or barriers, ornamental in every season of the year.
The hedges, in a garden, are a fundamental and long-lasting element: for this reason it is important to plan the planting in advance, evaluating all the varieties available to us, as well as any aspect that could later prove to be critical.

General indications on cultivation

The lauroceraso is a shrub (or, if allowed to grow freely, a small expanded tree) belonging to the genus Prunus (and therefore to the very vast family of the Rosaceae). Its final dimensions (depending on the cultivar and the setting) range from 1 to 5 meters in height and about 1-4 in width. Its leaves are lanceolate, shiny and, in the species, dark green. Their thick and leathery consistency makes them ideal for creating thick barriers and blocking the passage of light. In spring, from the leaf axil, it produces small white flowers collected in bunches that evolve then, in autumn, into blackish berries (drupes). At maturity they are very appetizing to the birds (which thus take care of spreading the seeds), but they are extremely toxic for the mammals: therefore we place the utmost attention if there are children. We also remember that even the leaves are poisonous: if rubbed they release hydrocyanic acid. They can cause skin irritation and should never be put in contact with the mouth or mucous membranes.

Cherub cultivation

The lauroceraso is an ideal subject for low-maintenance gardens: after treatment for the rooting it is in fact very autonomous and requires few annual pruning interventions. To further enhance these characteristics, it is good to place them in good light conditions and in a suitable substrate.


Family, genus and species

Rosaceae ,. Prunus Laurocerasus
Type of plant Tree or shrub
Foliage Persistent, glossy dark green
Flowers Bunched whites
fruits Round or oval, black, purple or red drupes; toxic
RusticitŠ° Medium rustic
Exposure Half shade
Ground Deep, fresh, well-drained
pH subacido
Water needs average
Composting Stallatic (autumn), granular for green plants (late winter)
Growth rapid
Maintenance Moderately demanding
use Hedge, groups, isolated specimen, vase (for dwarf cultivars)

Land of the Lauroceraso

The planting of this shrub is a crucial step to obtain good growth and to avoid problems in particularly rainy or dry years. The ideal substrate must be deep and well-worked, to guarantee the development of the root system in a short time. If our result is very compact, clayey and calcareous we will have to consider changing the essence or working to extract it deeply and replace it with a more suitable one.
The ideal would then be to mix the acid-reaction forest soil with universal soil (in equal parts) and add a good quantity of well decomposed organic soil conditioner. A further help to the water draining will come from a bed of gravel that we will prepare on the bottom of the hole. All these precautions are very important to prevent the onset of frequent root rots and leaf diseases (for example oidium, caused by a high rate of humidity).


Almost everywhere in Italy it is advisable to proceed in autumn so as to have, at the arrival of the warm season, specimens already partially stamped and able to concentrate on vegetative growth. The end of winter, instead, is to be preferred especially if we live in mountain areas and if we choose cultivars sensitive to cold or currents. We will dig holes about 1 meter deep (depending on the size of the earth bread) and we will immediately insert a guardian, especially for the higher varieties. If we want to make a hedge we leave at least 1 meter between one and the other.
Keep in mind that the distance is smaller and before the barrier will reach a definitive aspect, but the thickness of the leaves could favor the advent of parasites and cryptogams. Once the specimen has been inserted (as indicated in the previous paragraph) we compact the soil well and irrigate abundantly. We give water constantly for the first vintage when the area is dry in depth.

Choice of location and lighting

We choose, if possible, a location in half-shade. The ideal is for the plants to be reached by the sun in the morning (so that the leaves dry out as soon as possible from the dew) and are then shaded in the afternoon. This will help us to avoid the onset of powdery mildew, a rather common pathology in these hedges.



October-November; March
Flowering April May
Fruiting September October
Pruning Always; preferably in June and September
Organic fertilization November
Fertilization with synthetic products February March


The most sold cultivars are suitable for all Italian climates, even the mountain ones. On the other hand, some varieties are more delicate and their choice must be carefully evaluated by asking the nurseryman for advice. In mountain areas, especially for young specimens, it may be useful to lay a thick mulch based on leaves, straw and other natural insulating material.

Irrigation and fertilization

An unavoidable condition for success is to have a land capable of keeping itself cool, but without creating dangerous stagnations. During the first year of the plant, in the absence of rain, it is good to intervene rather frequently, especially in summer. Subsequently the plant should turn out to be autonomous with the exception of the southern regions where a water support can be decisive. If we can, we avoid irrigating with hard water (perhaps coming from wells). This would irremediably raise the salt concentration and the basicity of the substrate causing, in the long run, the onset of unsightly (and harmful) leaf chlorosis.
A good support to the growth can derive from the distribution, at the end of winter, of a balanced granular fertilizer for shrubs. In autumn it is instead advised to abound by spreading at the foot of the excellent manure that will make the substrate more vital and aerated.


The cheraceraso, to maintain its formal appearance, should be pruned approximately twice a year: in early summer and in mid-autumn. In this way it will also be possible to enjoy the spring flowering. If we want to obtain very dense specimens quickly we will have to engage in very frequent interventions that will encourage the production of secondary branches.


The lauroceraso is an excellent hedge plant but, unfortunately, is an easy victim of various diseases (especially if cultivated in non-ideal conditions).
The most frequent is undoubtedly oidium: it is evident on young leaves and on those closer to the ground when there are medium-high temperatures and strong environmental humidity (rain showers followed by good weather). We prevent using sulfur properly. In case it is already present we will instead opt for specific products with endotherapic action. Another ever more frequent enemy is the oziorinco: it comes out of the ground during the night hours and it feeds on the leaves seriously damaging the whole plant (even the root system). You can fight with special geodisinfestanti.

Laurel hedge: Variety

Given its diffusion as an ornamental, there has always been a great interest in finding new varieties and cultivars. The most appetizing features are the small size, resistance to diseases and different foliage colors. Here are the most common ones on the market.


'Otto Luyken'

Very dwarf, at most one meter

The leaves are lanceolate and oblong. The flowers are very beautiful, in bunches of about 20 cm. Fears cold winds

Low hedges, potted hedges, potted trees
'But no'
Up to 2 meters, very compact and slow growing

Leaves rounded at the apex, bronzed when young. Abundant and large flowers

Low maintenance medium hedge, in groups with other essences, isolated specimen
Up to 5 meters high

Leaves up to 25 cm long

High and very thick hedges
Up to 2 meters, very compact

Leaves small and thick, white flowers and fine. Very rustic, it tolerates the shadow well

Medium hedges, groups, isolated specimens. Ideal for topiary art
Green Carpet
Up to 1 meter high, but up to 4 meters wide

Large leaves bright green

Medium hedge or ornamental bush
Up to 1.5 meters and up to 4 meters wide. For hedges that "close" quickly

Elongated oval leaves, very shiny dark green, very elegant. Abundant flowering that can be repeated throughout the year

Low hedges, groups.
Mount Vernon
Nanissimo, up to 30 cm

Leaves small and thick

Siepine, medium-sized vases
'Marbled White'
More than 2 meters, conical shape

Leaves with cream and gray spots. Fears temperatures below -10 ° C and wind. Slow growth

Hedges, groups, isolated specimen
Up to 3 meters

Leaves elongated with golden variegation

Medium-high hedge
Up to 1.5-2 m; pyramidal bearing

Very dense and resistant foliage of a fresh light green glossy of narrow and elongated shape ... Cream flowers at the end of winter. Oval purple drupes. Very rustic

Low or medium hedges, groups.
Up to 2 meters, but wider than high

Elongated dark green leaves, very shiny. Very abundant white flowers and red fruits

The most widespread hedge variety.

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