Laurel – A Complete Guide to Planting and Caring for a Laurel Hedge

Laurel is a superb hedging plant. On this website, we hope to provide information on the benefits of Laurel hedging, the different varieties of Laurel and how to plant them, how to trim and look after your Laurel hedge, how to prevent or cope with any potential problems with your hedge and where to buy your Laurel hedging plants. There is also information on the botany of Laurel.

The Benefits of Laurel Hedging

Laurel is quick-growing and evergreen. If you don’t want a conifer hedge, then Laurel is the next quickest growing evergreen shrub that will form a good garden hedge.

Laurel can be trimmed or pruned to the height you require and, if it grows too big, it can be cut back as hard as you like – right back to the stump if necessary – and it will re-grow quickly into a new hedge.

Laurel will grow in most soils in full sun or heavy shade, in fact you quite often see it planted under tree canopies in National Trust and other estates and kept trimmed to a low height to keep down the brambles and bracken.

There are different varieties of Laurel plants including the Common (aka Cherry) Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), Portugal Laurel (Prunus lusitanica) and Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) – see our section on Types of Laurel Hedging for more information.

There are Laurel hedging plants that stay small or grow up to 20ft (7m); Laurels with dark green, bright green or variegated leaves; Laurel with large leaves and Laurel with small leaves.

Laurel can make a hedge or living screen that will:

  • Provide privacy from your neighbours
  • Provide a barrier between you and unsightly objects
  • Act as a windbreak
  • Cut down noise
  • Reduce air pollution from traffic
  • Provide a barrier to stop people entering your garden
  • Provide food and shelter for wildlife

Laurel is best pruned once a year to keep it to the height you want. To see how and when to trim your hedge, see our section on How to Prune a Laurel Hedge.