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Spotted laurels are known for being relatively easy to grow, even for beginners. However, these long-lasting plants don’t grow too quickly. Many people express their frustrations and think something’s wrong with their laurels while the plant is actually going through its natural growing process.
Spotted Laurel plants grow an average of 9 inches per year, making them quite slow compared to other plants. They can take a decade to reach their full height, but they still need to be pruned to remove overgrowth. Use natural fertilizers, topsoil, and aeration to expedite the process.
In this post, you’ll learn how quickly your spotted laurel grows, how to make it grow faster, and how long it takes to reach its maximum height and width.
When Do Spotted Laurels Reach Maturity?
Spotted laurels reach maturity between 10 to 20 years, depending on a number of conditions. For example, if they’re grown in partial shade with nutrient-rich, well-draining soil, they’ll mature much faster. Despite full maturity, spotted laurels continue to grow leaves from the branches, which can be pruned for clippings and aesthetic purposes.
Spotted laurels can reach up to an impressive 15 feet tall when fully grown. However, the average mature height stacks up to around 10 feet.
Once your spotted laurel reaches this height, you can propagate and prune it frequently. However, older laurels are more susceptible to wound diseases.
Here’s a quick list of factors that affect when a spotted laurel reaches maturity:
- Sunlight exposure
- Rain, humidity, and watering frequency
- Soil conditions (density, depth, nutrients, and drainage)
- Neighboring plants and weeds (root entanglement can cause a fight for water and nutrients)
- Pruning (rubbing branches can wear each other out, causing plant wounds)
Optimizing these characteristics will help your spotted laurel grow quicker. Let’s analyze a few more tips and tricks in the following section.
How to Make a Spotted Laurel Grow Quickly
To make a spotted laurel grow quickly, try this method:
- Water your spotted laurel one to two times per week (source). Dry soil with a lot of heat throughout the summer calls for more frequent watering. The best soil for spotted laurels is semi-cold, well-draining, moisture-retaining dirt. Overwatering can lead to mushy roots and droopy leaves.
- Replace a two-inch layer of mulch or topsoil around the spotted laurel to improve hydration, drainage, and nutrients in the dirt. Not only does this help the spotted laurel immensely, but it also prevents weeds and other invasive plants from growing. You can compost laurel clippings to use the following year.
- Make sure your spotted laurel doesn’t spend too much time in direct sunlight. These plants grow best in partial shade with a little filtered sunlight. Too much heat will cause the leaves to wilt and burn. In fact, excessive sunlight is one of the main reasons spotted laurels turn yellow or brown.
- Prune near the middle of autumn to encourage new growth in the spring. This process will also prevent the stems and leaves from overshadowing the rest of the plant, which could cause growth issues. You can use the cuttings for propagation, compost, or ground mulch.
- Opt for loose, well-draining soil instead of sandy, clay-packed dirt. If your yard has compacted soil, you can aerate it, water it to loosen it up, and add topsoil. Avoid topsoils with lots of clay and sand. You can also use mulch or compost to enhance the drainage, as mentioned earlier in the post.
Spotted laurels grown from clippings should stay in the pot for two to four months (in most cases). The roots generally take about three weeks to sprout, which means the clipping doesn’t have any structural support to withstand the elements.
After transplanting the spotted laurel to your garden, it’ll grow up to a foot each year.
For more guidance, see our complete guide on How To Take Care of a Spotted Laurel.
What Is the Lifespan of a Spotted Laurel?
The lifespan of a spotted laurel is typically around 50 years, but there are several factors that can increase or decrease its longevity. Proper soil, watering cycles, and climate play a major role in how long a spotted laurel can live. You can propagate clippings to restart small spotted laurel plants indefinitely.
Generally speaking, old spotted laurels start to wilt while their branches become brittle. These are often signs that the laurel is near the end of its life cycle.
Furthermore, the roots and trunk won’t be sturdy enough to support the plant. This can cause limb damage that stresses the laurel until it breaks.
What Reduces a Spotted Laurel’s Lifespan?
Spotted laurels last the longest when they’re in filtered sunlight and shade (source). Too much shade or sunlight will have adverse effects that weaken the plant’s ability to fight diseases, bacteria, and mildew.
Unfortunately, root rot can destroy a spotted laurel long before its expected longevity. Root rot occurs when the soil is too damp for too long.
However, it can also show up if there are neighboring plants with the condition. You can limit the spread of root rot and make your spotted laurel last longer by pruning the infected leaves, stems, branches, and roots.
Additionally, aggressive pruning can be problematic for spotted laurels. These plants are extremely durable and can withstand heavy pruning. However, cutting the plant and leaving it unprotected during the winter will drastically limit regrowth opportunities. It can also expose wounds for diseases to develop.
The last thing that can shorten a spotted laurel’s lifespan is low-quality soil. Dry, nutrient-lacking soil won’t suffice.
The soil needs plenty of nutrients, including vital minerals, carbon, and nitrogen. If any of these substances aren’t in the soil in abundance, the spotted laurel will suffer. On the bright side, you can change the soil or add to it to quickly improve the plant’s health.
Spotted laurels are slow growers, but they’re well worth the wait. You can encourage optimal growth with many of the same tried and true techniques used throughout your garden.
Remember, good soil goes a long way in your spotted laurel’s growth.