Sometimes in the garden we need a solid, evergreen tree that will fill dark corners and give us dense hedges and barriers. We often also need dense, quick-growing shrubs to fill beds and provide an attractive green background to our more colorful shrubs. In organizing a garden the wise gardener uses plenty of green, to make a stable, calming picture. Sometimes we can achieve this with plants like Yew Trees, but sometimes a glossy, larger leaf works best.
If this is what you need – and everyone needs it somewhere in their garden – then the dwarf English Laurel is the tree you are looking for. It has bold, glossy leaves in a medium shade of green, that always look healthy and fresh, no matter what season it is. It will grow in all exposures from full sun to deep shade, so a hedge can pass through different conditions and yet give a uniform effect. Unlike the full-sized English Laurel, this shrub does not need constant pruning to control its wild habits. The Dwarf English Laurel will grow rapidly, but only to between four and six feet, the ideal size for most hedges, or for background plantings in beds. It also produces fragrant clusters of small creamy colored flowers in spring, filling the air with a sweet perfume – an added bonus for an already valuable shrub.
The original English laurel is a native plant from Eastern Europe and southern Russia, growing from Bulgaria to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It grows into a large evergreen shrub that can be 20 feet tall and 40 feet across. It was introduced into England in the 16th century and came to America from there, which is why it is called English laurel. It has always been popular for its vigorous evergreen growth than can easily be pruned into a much smaller form. However nobody wants to be constantly trimming their plants, so smaller forms have been found and the Dwarf English Laurel is the pick of those, which is why we have chosen to offer it to you as the ideal form of English laurel to grow.
The leaves are oval in shape, glossy medium green in color and four to six inches long and about two inches wide. This shrub naturally grows into a broad, dense form, but periodic trimming will quickly turn it into a more formal hedge up to six feet tall. It will grow in all conditions, but it is especially useful for deep shade, where it will thrive where almost all other plants will fade away. The small-creamy white flowers are in sprays about four inches long and are produced in spring. They have a sweet honey fragrance. Plants that are not trimmed produce the most flowers. These flowers are often followed by a small black fruit that looks a little like a cherry and gives away that this plant, although very different looking, is actually a relative of the cherry tree. However the fruit is bitter and not edible – unless you are a bird, because they love to harvest these fruits.
Choose a location in any light level, from full sun to deep shade, to plant your Dwarf English Laurel. The warmer the area you live in, the deeper the shade this tree will grow in. For a screen or hedge, plant 2 – 3 feet apart in a row. This plant will naturally grow into a dense bush, so trimming is only needed to control the size or create a more formal look to your hedge or bush. Left untrimmed it is an ideal background shrub in larger beds. The best soil for good growth is moist, with lots of organic material, so add plenty of that when you are preparing the planting area. Fertilize your plants every spring for vigorous and healthy growth, although this plant has no pests or diseases of any significance. Water your hedge regularly; especially when young, to get the quickest growth. Mature plants only need water during very dry periods.
If you have a short hedge or a specimen plant, trim with pruners rather than shears, so that you do not cut the leaves in half, but for a larger hedge this does not matter. You do not even need to trim this plant at all – not only will you get more flowers and spend less time on maintenance, you will still get a dense privacy screen right around your garden. So for a real work-horse around the garden, especially if you have a lot of shade, the Dwarf English Laurel is the top choice. We constantly receive new shipments, but because of its high popularity, we can experience stock shortages. So order that hedge or plants for your beds now, to avoid being disappointed.