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Why Aren’t Your Cherry Laurels Growing? 4 Reasons

Why Aren’t Your Cherry Laurels Growing? 4 Reasons

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

Cherry laurels are beautiful plants, and their hedges can give you cover from your surroundings. People like to grow them in their gardens despite them being poisonous. However, sometimes cherry laurels don’t grow as well as they should.

Cherry laurels don’t grow when you don’t look after them well. Neglecting the plant can lead to weaker roots. Other causes of poor growth include overwatering, underwatering, diseases, weeds, etc. You can encourage plant growth by looking after your cherry laurels. 

You need to do some investigating to pinpoint the actual cause for slow growth. Otherwise, it might be difficult for you to resolve the issue. This article explains several reasons your cherry laurels may not grow and how to fix the problems.

1. Weak Roots

One of the main reasons your cherry laurels aren’t growing may be because of a weak root zone. The plant’s roots can suffer damage due to several reasons. 

  • Cherry laurels have deep roots. This can cause problems if you don’t water the plants properly. Underwatering can dry or weaken the roots because the water won’t soak them thoroughly. 
  • Winter injuries can also damage the roots. Winter damage can cause severe growth problems (source). And one of the main concerns during winter or dormancy is drying roots.

How To Fix 

You can fix this by ensuring proper watering of the plant. The water must reach the roots and soak them thoroughly.

However, excessive watering can lead to root rot, so you must have a proper watering schedule. I will tell you how much watering cherry laurels need later in the article.

When it comes to winter damage to the roots, you can avoid it by planting them at the right time. The best time to plant cherry laurels is the start or mid-fall/autumn. The roots will remain healthy and won’t dry out in dormancy if you water the plants enough during the blooming season.  

2. Improper Watering

Cherry laurels are evergreen plants and can withstand harsh weather conditions. However, their growth may suffer if they don’t have enough water or get too much. 

The plant prefers moisture, but overwatering may lead to yellow foliage and root rot. The stalks start dying when the soil’s moisture content gets too high. This impedes growth and deteriorates plants’ health. 

Underwatering the plants can also cause delayed or no growth. You can tell the plant needs water if the leaves start to turn yellow and fall off. Dehydration in cherry laurels can kill the plant in hot and cold weather. 

The new shrubs require regular and proper watering.

How To Fix 

The best way to water cherry laurels is to soak the soil thoroughly on a regular basis instead of watering them daily. You should water the leaves every second day if the soil or conditions are too dry. 

However, if the soil retains water, you will need to adjust the schedule. Wait at least four days before you water the plants again. For plants in the shade, a gap of six days between waterings is advisable.  

Remember to soak the soil well and avoid quick sprays or showers during the break period. A proper watering schedule should promote growth and a thick cherry laurel hedge. 

Remember, cherry laurels have deep roots, so you need to adequately water the root area.

3. Poor Soil Quality 

Poor soil quality is another factor that can lead to poor cherry laurel growth. Here are some of the problems you may face due to poor soil quality:

  • Soil with too much clay. This can lead to multiple issues, including poor drainage and waterlogging. 
  • Root damage due to waterlogging can prevent growth. When the soil doesn’t drain water fast enough, it can cause root rot. It also blocks the oxygen supply to the underground roots.
  • Not enough or too much fertilizer. Soil with excessive or very little fertilizer can cause leaf scorching and root damage, slowing the plant’s growth. 

How To Fix 

Too much clay or sand in the soil is never good for plant growth. So, you need to fix the issue before it damages the roots. 

Here is how you can solve the problem with your soil:

  • Manage clay and sand in the soil. You can do this by making the soil rich in organic matter. Adding manure and compost can help (source). Soil rich in calcium and sulfur is of better quality and tends to have more efficient water drainage.
  • Make sure the soil drains well. You can solve the waterlogging issue by using raised beds where you plant your cherry laurels. As mentioned, you should also increase the soil’s organic matter, which helps in better drainage (source). Soil that drains the water in less than two hours or takes more than 8-10 hours to drain has poor drainage. 
  • Fertilize the soil properly. You should fertilize your cherry laurels at least once a year. A slow-release fertilizer is a better option, especially if you fertilize the plant during its dormancy. 

4. Not Enough Pruning

If you don’t prune your cherry laurels, the plant’s top becomes thicker with excessive foliage (source). However, the bottom branches can lose their leaves and become bare. This can cause the weakening of lower branches to the point where they can’t support plant growth. 

Additionally, when you fail to prune your plant, it may not grow enough foliage after its dormancy period. See Does Pruning Stimulate Growth?

How To Fix 

To keep the hedge strong, you need to prune it regularly. It is advisable to prune or cut the branches multiple times in a year. You can cut the branches by at least five to six inches (12.7- 15.24 cm) 

Prune the hedge using sharp pruners. In case the hedge is too big or thick, you may want to call professional pruners. Remember, cutting or pruning too much or too little can damage plant growth. 

The best time to prune your cherry laurels is during summer or late spring. 


Cherry laurels are luscious foliage and add beauty to your garden. Still, the plant can stop growing if you don’t look after it well. 

Caring for cherry laurels doesn’t take too much work. You only need a proper schedule for pruning, watering, planting, and fertilizing the plant. You should also use organically rich soil for a healthy hedge. 

Proper growth is all about taking care of your cherry laurels.

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