Portuguese laurel (Prunus lusitanica)

The flowers of Prunus lusitanica are white

Image - Wikimedia / Ecelan

Evergreens are a real wonder. They are relatively large plants, which provide shade and privacy (depending on the species) and also usually bloom every spring-summer. The Prunus lusitanica It is one of those that you should not rule out if you live in an area with a temperate climate: it is beautiful! ...

… And it resists frost. It is true that those that are very intense harm it, but if it "only" drops to -8 degrees Celsius, you will not have any problem with it, rather the opposite 😉. Taking care of it you will see that it is not difficult, and less with the advice that I am going to give you below.

Origin and characteristics of Prunus lusitanica

View of Prunus lusitanica in garden

Our protagonist is an evergreen tree of the genus Prunus known as lauroceraso of Portugal, Portuguese laurel or parrot native to southwestern France, Spain (except Balearic Islands), Portugal (including Madeira and Azores) and Morocco. It grows to a height of 15 meters, with the bark of blackish brown color.

The leaves are alternately arranged, oval, with a toothed margin, bright dark green on the upper surface and light green without gloss on the underside. These are between 7 and 12cm long by 3 to 5cm wide, and remain on the plant for several months until they fall off as new ones emerge.

Its flowers are small, about 10 to 15mm in diameter, composed of five white petals, and are grouped in clusters of about 5 to 25cm. Blooms in spring. The fruit is a drupe of 8 to 13mm in diameter, which goes from green to black when it finishes maturing, and contains a seed inside.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend that you provide it with the following care:


El Prunus lusitanica must be outside, in full sun. Its roots are not invasive, but it is advisable to plant it at a minimum distance of 5 meters from pipes, walls, etc. in order that it can have a good development.


  • Flower pot: It is not a plant that can be had for many years in one, but if it is young you can have it if you fill it with, for example, universal substrate (for sale here!).
  • the garden: grows in fertile soils, with good drainage.


View of the Prunus lusitanica

Image - Wikimedia / Javier sanchez goalkeeper

Water your lauroceraso de Portugal moderately, avoiding long periods of drought as well as flooding. To give you an idea, if the climate is very hot and dry, it will be necessary to water an average of 3 to 4 times a week in summer and a little less the rest of the year.

Do not wet its leaves or flowers, only the earth as otherwise they will burn.


Sometimes when we buy plants we only remember to water them. And that is a mistake. No living being needs only water to survive, and neither do plant beings.

Therefore, it is important that you fertilize your tree during the spring and summer months, with ecological fertilizers, like guano (for sale here!), mulch (for sale here!) or compost.

We do not recommend compound / chemical fertilizers in this case, since the fruits are a delicious food for blackbirds, thrushes and warblers and these chemical products could pose a serious risk for these birds.


El Prunus lusitanica multiplies by seeds in spring. To do this, you have to follow this step by step:

  1. First, put the seeds in a glass of water at room temperature.
  2. The next day, discard any that remain floating since they are most likely not viable (but you can still plant them separately, just in case).
  3. Then fill a seedling tray (like this one they sell here!) or in biodegradable pots (for sale here!) with substrate for seedlings (for sale here!).
  4. Then, place the seeds on the surface and bury them a little (a 1-2 cm layer) with substrate.
  5. Finally, sprinkle a little with sulfur and water thoroughly.

Placing the seedbed outside, and keeping the substrate moist, will germinate in about two or three weeks.


Don't need it. Yes, it is convenient to remove the dry branches, the diseased ones and those that looked weak at the end of autumn or at the end of winter.

Planting or transplanting time

It is planted in the garden in spring; And if you have it in a pot, you have to transplant it every two or three years, always to one that has drainage holes.

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Related article:
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It resists frosts down to -8ºC.

What uses does it have?

Image - Wikimedia / Cillas

Is used as ornamental plant. Either as an isolated specimen or even as a shrubby hedge, it is a very interesting species that does not need much care to be healthy.

The fruit is not toxic, but it has a bitter taste, so its consumption is not recommended.

Out of curiosity, to tell you that it is a species that has become naturalized in the western United States, in other European countries: Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand.

What did you think of this tree?

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