Is laurel the same as cherry laurel?
First, let’s answer the most logical question. If we use the words laurel and cherry laurel interchangeably, are they the same plant? The answer is no. Although the cherry laurel is often abbreviated as laurel in everyday life, they are two different plants. This is evident from the Latin names of the plants: Prunus laurocerasus for the cherry laurel and Laurus nobilis for the laurel. By the way, the cherry laurel does not even belong to the laurel family – it is a cherry! So why is it still called a laurel?
It’s because the leaves of the cherry laurel are very similar to those of the bay laurel. The “cherry” part of the cherry laurel suggests that its berries are edible, but this is not the case; they are actually poisonous. Therefore, it is more logical to point out the fact that this plant resembles a laurel, especially for someone who is looking for hedge plants. In addition, it is convenient for us to advertise the cherry laurel as a laurel, precisely to avoid confusion among our customers. Many of our customers ask for laurel when they are actually looking for a cherry laurel.
What are the differences between laurel and cherry laurel?
The main difference between the two plants is that the true laurel can be used as a spice in cooking, while the cherry laurel is best not eaten. Not only are the cherries of the cherry laurel poisonous, but the leaves are not healthy to eat either. Therefore, anyone who wants to start an herb garden should take special care to buy a Laurus and not a Prunus. Conversely, for a hedge, it is more beneficial to choose a Prunus, as it is more robust and often much less expensive.
To address the robustness: The cherry laurel is much more resistant to cold and frost. While not all laurel varieties will survive a harsh winter without protection, they do much better on their own than the true laurel. This is certainly an advantage in a hedge, as covering the hedge completely in the winter is a heck of a job, and not a pretty sight either. When the temperature drops below -8 °C, it is even advisable to bring a real laurel indoors – of course, this is not possible with a cherry laurel hedge.
Of course, there are also some visual differences. Although the real laurel and the cherry laurel look similar, they are not exactly the same. For example, the leaves of the true laurel are dull, while the cherry laurel has glossy leaves. In addition, the two plants strike different flowers. Although both plants have relatively inconspicuous white flowers, the shape is different. The cherry laurel blooms in clusters that in some ways extend above the leaves. The true bay laurel has white flowers that grow between the leaves. However, if you want to see your laurel hedge bloom, it helps to prune carefully.
Why choose a cherry laurel for a hedge?
With such a plant as the real laurel (even in a mild winter, temperatures can easily reach -8 °C at night), which is so bad at dealing with frost, it is obvious why it is not suitable for a hedge. This is also a reason why we do not sell real laurel – after all, we are an online store for hedge plants. However, the cherry laurel is much hardier, evergreen and has a beautiful, dense growth habit when properly cared for. In addition, it takes little effort to maintain a cherry laurel well, so it’s a good option for a hedge.
Many varieties of cherry laurel grow quite wide. Well-known examples of this are the cherry laurel ‘Rotundifolia’ and the cherry laurel ‘Novita’. To do these plants justice, it is best to plant them in a large garden where they have plenty of room. Since the cherry laurel grows quite tall, it is a suitable plant for a tall, large privacy hedge. There are also smaller varieties of cherry laurel, such as the cherry laurel ‘Caucasica’ and the cherry laurel ‘Herbergii’. However, some varieties do not grow very tall, making them particularly suitable for ornamental hedges. So pay attention to this before you choose a cherry laurel.