Privacy Screens and Hedges
Of all the laurels used for hedges and privacy screens, Portuguese laurel is an all-time favorite. They have all the benefits of English laurel varieties, but what makes them unique is their striking red stems that contrast perfectly with the narrow, dark green leaves. They are also more heat tolerant than their English cousins.
As an extra bonus, they produce clusters of fluffy, fragrant, white flowers in late spring, and black berries for the birds in fall. Maybe the best part of all… they are remarkably deer resistant! We see them planted in Jacksonville, untouched, next to deer ravaged English laurel.
In general, laurels grow fast, have a dense branching habit, are shade and sun tolerant, and have large glossy green leaves that respond well to being trimmed. Consistently trimming laurel hedges encourages new bushier growth. If you are going for a more natural-looking hedge, just trim it less often. Maintaining Portuguese laurel to your desired height and depth is easy to do once you get the hang of it. They can grow anywhere from 18-24” each year, and if not maintained, they can reach 18-20’ tall and 10-15’ wide, or larger. They can easily be kept in the 8-10' range with pruning.
Portuguese laurels prefer well-draining soil and do well in full sun to part shade. They become moderately drought tolerant once the root system is established.