Most hedge plants, that have leaves and even flowers, grow very quickly and therefore require frequent trimming. If you don’t do this, they very quickly take up a lot of space. Even if cutting twice a year is not a problem for you personally, it is not ideal, because cutting more than once a year promotes shot hole disease. This actually makes the “regular” cherry laurel unsuitable for the smaller garden. This is where Portuguese laurel comes in. It does not grow so fast and remains quite compact.
Trimming Portuguese laurel once a year is enough even in a small garden. For most criteria (opaque, robust, easy to grow, compatibility with other trees/plants nearby, soil requirements) that apply to hedge plants, the Portuguese Cherry Laurel wins easily over most of them. Of course, we are leaving out the appearance and taste, this is strictly individual.
Portuguese cherry laurel does not grow so fast in width. But this hedge plant tolerates being planted a little more narrowly quite well. Maybe not as dense as most other (broad-leaved) laurel species, but still sufficiently dense for most people.
Portuguese laurel is one of the easiest hedge plants to grow. It forms roots first, and until this is sufficiently accomplished, it often looks quite gray for a long time. But perhaps that’s what makes it so strong – rooting thoroughly first and then putting the energy into forming shoots.
If you forget to trim one year, it doesn’t matter, because Portuguese laurel can be cut any time, not just at a specific time of year. By the way, this is true for all laurels, but for the common laurel species, it is perhaps a little more true than for the Portuguese laurel. The cherry laurel can even be cut back to the trunk after years of not being pruned.
Some find the flowers of the Portuguese laurel are too fragrant. But most people think the showy white blossoms smell very good. Insects definitely like them. They do not bloom until May, a little later than the ordinary cherry laurel. If you find these flowers gorgeous and beautiful the Portuguese laurel is definitely for you.