Not all hedge plants grow at the same rate. The fast-growing hedge plants quickly form a hedge that protects against unwanted glances but usually requires a lot of pruning. Those who are not so skilled with pruners prefer to use hedge plants that grow more slowly, but in this case, a tall hedge often takes a long time to grow. Some slow-growing hedge plants even stay low. Cherry laurel is one of the most popular hedge plants but what is the growth performance of a cherry laurel hedge? The good news is that when it comes to growth performance, cherry laurel offers several options.
The cherry laurel for a fast-growing cherry laurel hedge.
Most amateur gardeners who want to plant a cherry laurel hedge desire a hedge that will tower above sight level in the foreseeable future. One reason for this is that the cherry laurel, with its large, glossy leaves, has a very different character than the evergreen hedge plants commonly used for privacy hedges, such as conifers. A cherry laurel hedge usually looks a bit more relaxed and cheerful, and thanks to its dense branching and evergreen leaves, it provides reliable protection from prying eyes all year round. The most popular cherry laurel variety, for such a hedge, is the big-leaf cherry laurel ‘Rotundifolia’. It can grow 30 to 60 centimeters a year, quickly reaching the desired height.
Since the Large-leaved Cherry Laurel ‘Rotundifolia’ is susceptible to fungal diseases, such as shotgun blight, under certain circumstances, many garden owners have chosen the Large-leaved Cherry Laurel ‘Novita’ in recent years as a precautionary measure. These two varieties of cherry laurel are virtually indistinguishable in appearance, but the ‘Novita’ cherry laurel is a bit more vigorous and somewhat hardier. Also, the ‘Novita’ cherry laurel grows about half a foot per year, so it will quickly form the hedge you want. The nice thing about these fast-growing hedge plants is that they don’t need to be cut back that often. If you use pruning shears to cut off any branches that stick out too far, that will be quite enough.
The only problem with a tall cherry laurel hedge is that the large leaves of these beautiful hedge plants take up quite a bit of space in the area. Would you like your cherry laurel hedge to remain a little narrower? Then you can also choose a fast growing cherry laurel hedge with an upright growth habit. For example, the branches of the cherry laurel ‘Genolia’® and cherry laurel ‘Elly’® grow slightly upwards. This means that a hedge with these cherry laurel varieties will usually not grow wider than 80 to 90 centimeters. For a particularly narrow cherry laurel hedge, it is advisable to prune back each year once in spring and once in early autumn.
Cherry laurel varieties with an average growth performance.
When it comes to cherry laurels, you don’t just have a choice between fast-growing and slow-growing varieties. There are also cultivars that are right in between. And among them are some unusual cherry laurels. The cherry laurel ‘Herbergii’, for example. It grows 20 to 40 inches per year and is particularly striking because it is the most showy flowering cherry laurel. While most cherry laurels bloom completely inconspicuously, ‘Herbergii’ cherry laurel has a large number of white flowers in long clusters towards the end of spring each year. The darker color of the leaves makes the white flowers of this cherry laurel even more noticeable.
Does a flowering cherry laurel hedge appeal to you, but you’d prefer something more modest? Then the ‘Caucasica’ cherry laurel is a good option. This cherry laurel also has beautiful white flowers but slightly less profuse. The annual growth rate of this variety is about 40 inches per year, so it’s easy to keep the growth of these hedge plants under control. Cherry laurel ‘Tico’ also has a special appearance which is more due to its leaves. When they sprout in the spring, they have a unique copper-red color. Later in the year they will turn a lighter shade of green.
With the cherry laurel ‘Etna’, it is also the leaves that make it special. In this case, it’s the shape that counts the most. The leaves of the cherry laurel ‘Etna’ are smaller and rounder than those of other cherry laurels. Combined with its relatively modest growth rate of 20 to 40 centimeters per year, ‘Etna’ cherry laurel is therefore suitable for cherry laurel hedges with an above-average formal appearance. In addition, the cherry laurel ‘Etna’ is one of the hardiest cherry laurels. It tolerates frost of more than 25 degrees and copes relatively well with the one cold winter in our latitudes.
Slow growing cherry laurel
With all the growth rates you’ve read about so far, it may seem like a heck of a job to keep a cherry laurel hedge low. However, if you are looking for a low cherry laurel hedge you can count on some slow growing varieties. The best known example is the cherry laurel ‘Otto Luyken’. The breeder after whom this variety was named was specifically looking for a way to capture the beauty of the cherry laurel in a smaller cherry laurel hedge. The result is a cherry laurel hedge that grows no more than 10 to 20 centimeters per year with a maximum height of about 1.25 meters. A perfect cherry laurel hedge for the front yard.
Portuguese cherry laurel also does not grow quickly. Although it is a different plant species than the cherry laurel, this evergreen cherry laurel with its glossy leaves can be used for similar hedges. A Portuguese cherry laurel hedge can grow up to 5 feet tall, but it only grows 15 to 30 inches in a year. In spring, Portuguese cherry laurel blooms with beautiful white clusters and its pink branches are also rewarding. The extremely hardy cherry laurel ‘Zabeliana’ and cherry laurel ‘Mano’ remain quite low, growing about 20 inches per year. However, the cherry laurel ‘Zabeliana’ needs one or two prunings per year as it grows quite wide.