Portuguese Laurel or Prunus lusitanica 'Angustifolia'

Portugal Laurel is such an evergreen and suitable plant for a hedge. It is also called Portuguese Laurel. Its botanic name is Prunus Lusitanica. The family of Portugal Laurel comprises of Prunus Lusitanica “Angustifolia”, Prunus Lusitanica “Variegata”, Prunus Lusitanica “Azorica”. And Prunus Lusitanica “Angustifolia” is more common than others.

1. Description

Portugal Laurel is a bushy and evergreen shrub. Prunus lusitanica is very hardy and can survive temperatures of -25oC. Under the full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day) or Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours) it will grow well. It grows 10-2- feet tall and wide, taller if pruned to a tree form. The ultimate height Portugal Laurel can grow might be approximately 7m (20ft) tall as a hedge but in good conditions and if it is grown as a single stem tree, it has been known to grow to over 10m (30ft). The leaves are glossy dark green and in spring there are fragrant clusters up to 6-10 inches long of white flowers and small red to dark purple fruits if left trimmed. This shrub is easy to grow in average moist, well-drained soils and is drought tolerant once established. It can be propagated in spring by softwood stem cuttings. Use this plant as a hedge or privacy screen or even as a topiary specimen.

To compare Portugal Laurel with Cherry Laurel, there are some different features each other as follows:

  • The leaf size is much smaller than that of Prunus laurocerasus with leaves being 8-10cm (4 inches) long.
  • Portugal Laurel can tolerate free-draining soil (i.e. not waterlogged) even shallow chalky soils while Cherry Laurel cannot

2. Diseases, other problems

Leaves may be damaged by vine weevil and leaf-mining moths. A common disease that can be happened on Portugal Laurel is powdery mildew.

Portugal Laurel is similar to Cherry Laurel in containing poison. However, the amount of poison in Portugal Laurel is lower. Cyanogenic glycosides that are poison toxic can lead to brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock symptoms. Therefore, people and their animals should always stay away from leaves, seeds, or stems.

3. The family of Cherry Laurel

The family of Portugal Laurel comprises of Prunus Lusitanica “Angustifolia”, Prunus Lusitanica “Variegata”, Prunus Lusitanica “Azorica”. And Prunus Lusitanica “Angustifolia” is more common than others.


‘Myrtifolia’ has a smaller, darker leaf than the species, Prunus lusitanica, with redder stems. It also has a neater, tidier more elegant growth habit. Myrtifolia is sometimes called Angustifolia or Pyramidalis and is excellent for hedging or topiary. It smaller leaves give it a similar appearance to Bay Laurel but it is much hardier withstanding temperatures of -23oC. Commercially, it is now more widely grown than the ordinary Portugal Laurel as it is more popular as a hedging plant. Ultimate height 5m (15ft) tall if left untrimmed.

See all sizes of Prunus lusitanica “Angustifolia” now


Prunus lusitanica ‘Variegata’ has dark green leaves with a narrow white margin around the edge of the leaf. Slightly slower growing than the other varieties of Prunus lusitanica and more difficult to find commercially available especially in larger sizes. Ultimate height if left untrimmed 5m (15ft).


Azorica is a shrubby variety with a broader, thicker leaf that is about 10cm long.It is more difficult to find than the other varieties of Portugal Laurel as it is less widely grown commercially. Very hardy withstanding temperatures of -23oC.

If you want to find out more information about Portugal Laurel, you can go to the website of College of National Resources or The Royal Horticultural Society.

About the author
Adrian Byrne
I am Adrian Byrne, the owner of Hedging.ie and Laurehedging.ie. I have 20-year experience in the Horticulture industry and working with customers.

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