8 Types of Laurel Flowers (Care Guides & Photos)

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by Max - last update on August 2, 2020, 5:12 am
Types of Laurel Flowers

Laurel plants have attractive foliage and showy flowers that can add interest and fragrance to a garden. Different types of laurel flowers can grow in a wide range of climates, so there is sure to be a variety, you can grow in your location.

Wanna pick some beautiful laurel plants to add nice flowering landscaping to your home garden, here are our recommendations together with photos & care tips.

1. Spotted Laurel

Spotted Laurel

Scientific Name: Aucuba japonica

Mature Size: Up to 16 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-9

Light: Partial shade to full shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, organically rich

Flower Color: Purple

Cultivars and Varieties: Aucuba japonica ‘Picturata’, Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’, Aucuba japonica ‘Golden King’

This evergreen shrub is native to Korea, China, and Japan. It is loved for its deep green, glossy leaves, which are splashed with splatters of yellow. This showy foliage has also given rise to the common name for this plant of ‘gold dust,’ as the leaves appear to be dusted with gold specks. This is a shrub that takes a naturally rounded shape and doesn’t need regular pruning. It produces flowers in spring that are small and dark purple, with each flower having four pointed petals and creamy colored anthers in the center. The flowers appear in loose clusters, and if pollinated with a male plant, will develop to shiny red berries.

There are several varieties of this plant that have gained the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in recognition of their many excellent qualities. These are plants that love the shade, so if you’re looking for a way to brighten up a dark corner, then the showy foliage and pretty flowers of this spotted laurel could be a great solution. It is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, including clay or poor soils, but will perform best in rich soils that have a high organic content, and are kept consistently moist. Use this plant to create an attractive flowering hedge, or alone as an ornamental specimen.


2. Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Scientific Name: Kalmia latifolia

Mature Size: Up to 15 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Light: Full sun to full shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, acidic

Flower Color: Pink

Cultivars and Varieties: Kalmia latifolia ‘Olympic Fire’, Kalmia latifolia ‘Pink Charm’, Kalmia latifolia ‘Freckles’

This is an evergreen shrub that is native to the eastern portion of the United States. It is also commonly known as the calico bush and is the state flower of both Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful flowering bushes that grow natively in the US and has several places named after it, such as Laurel, a city in Mississippi, and Laurel County in the state of Kentucky.

The plant has a naturally rounded habit with dense growth. The flowers of this shrub are round and can vary from pale whitish-pink through to dark pink depending on the variety, though most commonly, the blooms are seen in light to medium pink. They blossom in abundant clusters during May and June, putting on an attention-grabbing display for several weeks. The flowers give way to brown fruits, some of that will persist through fall and winter. The ovate foliage of the shrub is also attractive, with a glossy finish that ranges from mid to deep green and purple, changing throughout the seasons.

Mountain laurel performs well in most light exposures, from full sun through to full shade, making it perfect for positioning in absolutely any spot you like. It thrives in well-draining soils that are kept consistently moist, and are slightly acidic.


3. Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel

Scientific Name: Laurus nobilis

Mature Size: Up to 40 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-11

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: Yellow

This is an award-winning evergreen plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. It can be grown as a shrub or a small tree. It is typically slow-growing and forms a vaguely pyramidal shape. This plant is also known as the bay tree and the sweet bay. It produces densely packed ovate, narrow foliage, which has a strong aroma. These gray-green leaves are commonly used in cooking to flavor casseroles, soups, stews, and pasta sauces. They can also be used as a garnish. Once removed from the tree, they have a long shelf life of up to a year.

As well as being cultivated for its use in food, bay laurel is also a popular ornamental tree, prized for its leathery foliage and stunning flowers. The flowers are bright yellow, blooming in dense clusters during spring. On female plants, pollinated flowers will give way to deep purple berries.

This is a popular plant that can be grown as a hedge, or it also works well as a container plant. It thrives in well-draining soils that are kept consistently moist and should be positioned in full sun or partial shade.


4. English Laurel

English Laurel

Scientific Name: Prunus laurocerasus

Mature Size: Up to 30 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, organically rich

Flower Color: White

Cultivars and Varieties: Prunus laurocerasus ‘Zabeliana’, Prunus laurocerasus ‘Magnifolia’, Prunus laurocerasus ‘Rotundifolia’

This is an evergreen plant, which, despite its name, is not native to England. It hails from Iran through to eastern Europe, including countries such as Bulgaria and Albania. It can be grown as a large shrub or small tree. The vigorously growing plant produces upright branches that are densely packed with leathery, ovate foliage, in a deep green color. The leaves have very finely toothed margins, and are typically around five or six inches long. When crushed, these leaves give off a sweet almond scent.

The flowers bloom in midsummer, on erect racemes held along the lengths of the branches. These racemes are covered in small white flowers, measuring less than half an inch across, but when packed together, they put on a very showy display. The flowers are followed by vibrant red glossy berries, which ripen to a shade of dark purple by fall. These are not edible for humans but are very popular among birds and wildlife.

This is a fast-growing plant that can ideally be used to create a hedge or privacy screen over a relatively short period of time. It thrives in full sun or partial shade, with afternoon shade being especially important in the hottest climates. It is a low maintenance plant that should be grown in well-draining soil, kept consistently moist.


5. Texas Mountain Laurel

Texas Mountain Laurel

Scientific Name: Sophora secundiflora

Mature Size: Up to 25 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Low moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, alkaline

Flower Color: Purple-blue

This evergreen plant is native to Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. It has a narrow and upright growth habit, which can be grown as a shrub or small tree. It produces dense foliage that has a spoon shape and is thick, leathery, and dark green.

The plant is most prized for its flowers, which arrive in heavy, drooping clusters in spring. The flowers are a bright shade of purple-blue and resemble wisteria flowers. They have a strong and unusual sweet fragrance that smells like bubblegum soda. When in bloom, these plants are enormously popular with butterflies and bees, as they are rich in pollen. The flowers give way to gray seed pods, which dangle in clusters as long as eight inches. They decorate the tree from summer right through to winter. Inside the seed pods, red seeds reside. These have a beautifully ornate quality and were popularly used by Native Americans to make necklaces.

This is a tough plant that stands up well to extreme heat and drought. It will adapt to most soil types but prefers a well-draining moderately dry soil. All parts of this plant are toxic, so take care to keep it away from children and pets.


6. Portuguese Laurel

Portuguese Laurel

Scientific Name: Prunus lusitanica

Mature Size: Up to 30 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Flower Color: White

Cultivars and Varieties: Prunus lusitanica subsp. lusitanica, Prunus lusitanica subsp. azorica, Prunus lusitanica subsp. hixa

This is a large evergreen shrub or small tree that is native to Portugal, Spain, Morocco, and France. It is rarely found growing in the wild but is a popularly cultivated ornamental plant. It produces leathery leaves with a glossy finish in a shade of deep green. Each leaf is oval-shaped and measures around five inches long. The tree is often mistaken for the bay laurel tree, due to the similarity of their foliage.

This plant blooms in late spring or early summer, with tiny white flowers clustered onto large racemes that can be as long as ten inches. Flowers are fragrant, and each has five petals. The blooms give way to red berries that develop to dark purple as they mature. The clusters become pendulous under the weight of the fruits, which are a popular food for birds but should not be consumed by humans.

This plant works well as a privacy screen due to its dense growth habit. It tolerates a wide range of soil types, including poor and shallow soils, but thrives in well-draining, fertile soil. It is resistant to heat, drought, and wind, and will grow well in full sun or partial shade.


7. Great Laurel

Great Laurel

Scientific Name: Rhododendron maximum

Mature Size: Up to 30 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-7

Light: Partial shade to full shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, acidic, fertile

Flower Color: White, pink, purple

This is an evergreen shrub that is native to North America. It can be found as far north as Nova Scotia in Canada, down to Alabama in the United States. It is the state flower of West Virginia. This shrub is a type of Rhododendron plant that has an upright growth habit, typically growing to around 15 feet in height, but in some cases can grow to double this. The shrub has large leaves that can span as much as eight inches in length. They are narrow and ovate, thick and waxy, in deep green. The undersides of the foliage are sometimes flushed with tan.

The flowers of this plant bloom in clusters at the tips of the upright branches held above the leaves. Each flower truss can hold up to 24 blooms. The blossoms are delicate bell shapes, with white petals flushed with pink-purple. They are in bloom throughout summer and are cultivated commercially as a popular ornamental plant, known to be one of the largest and hardiest types of rhododendrons.

This is a great plant for brightening up dark corners of the garden with its evergreen leaves and showy flowers, as it thrives in partial shade and will also tolerate full shade. It thrives in well-draining soil that is fertile, acidic, and consistently moist.


8. California Bay Laurel

California Bay Laurel

Scientific Name: Umbellularia californica

Mature Size: Up to 100 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-10

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Flower Color: Yellow

This is an evergreen plant that is native to North America, found along coastal woodlands through California and into Oregon. It can be grown as a shrub or tree. As a cultivated shrub, you can expect it to reach around 16 feet in height, but in its native habitat, the tree can grow as tall as 100 feet.

Despite its common name, this tree is not related to the bay laurel, but it has similar foliage that gives off a strong bay laurel scent when crushed, and therefore the two trees are often mistaken for each other. The leaves of the California bay laurel can also be used to flavor cooking, just like the true bay laurel. It has a stronger flavor than the Mediterranean herb, and so reduced quantities should be used. Flowers of this plant are small and yellow, developing to purple berries in fall.

They grow best in well-draining, fertile soil. They can survive short periods of drought.

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