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Prunus lusitanica AGM

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© RHS 2002

Characteristics

Plant type

Shrub

Habit

Bushy

Fragrance

Flower

Toxicity

Fruit may cause severe discomfort if ingested

Resilience

Hardiness

H5 (hardy - cold winter)

Colour

Flower

White in Summer

Foliage

Dark Green in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter

Fruit

Purple in Autumn

Size

Ultimate height

Higher than 12 metres

Ultimate spread

wider than 8 metres

Time to ultimate height

20-50 years


Preferred common name

Portugal laurel

Family

Rosaceae


Prunus can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs with showy flowers in spring, and often good autumn foliage colour. Some have edible fruit in autumn, and a few species have ornamental bark

P. lusitanica is a large evergreen shrub or small tree of spreading habit, the dark red shoots bearing deep green ovate leaves. Small, fragrant white flowers in racemes to 25cm in length in early summer, are followed by small, dark purple fruits

Other common names

  • cherry bay
  • Portuguese laurel cherry

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun
  • Part shade

Aspect

  • North-facing, East-facing, South-facing or West-facing
  • Sheltered or Exposed

Cultivation

Easy to grow in any moist but well-drained moderately fertile soil in sun or partial shade. Superb hedging shrub and even thrives on poor, shallow, chalky soils

Soil

  • Moist but well-drained or Well-drained
  • Acid, Neutral or Alkaline
  • Chalk, Loam, Sand or Clay

Propagation

Propagate by softwood cuttings in early summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Drought Resistant, Hedging/Screens or Low Maintenance


How to care

Pruning

Pruning group 1. In areas where silver leaf is prevalent pruning may be done in mid-summer

Pests

Leaves may be damaged by vine weevil and leaf-mining moths

Diseases

May be affected by powdery mildews