Although planting a dewy English garden in the often arid and unpredictable Los Angeles climate might seem impossible, English laurel is one European specimen that thrives in our environment.
English laurel has long, bright green leaves much larger than those usually seen on traditional hedges. Even when sheared into formal shapes, the English laurel exhibits an exuberant, bushy appearance, adding a welcome spot of feisty color to Southern California landscapes.
A fast-growing shrub that is drought tolerant once established, English laurel does need regular watering during the early years, and prefers full sun or partial shade. Healthy plants may exhibit some leaf droop after transplanting, but quickly recover if left alone. English laurel is wind and salt resistant, making it ideal for coastal settings.
Prune young laurels by removing a few inches in the early spring to encourage growth. Mature plants can be pruned into a distinctive box-hedge shape twice each year, once in the spring and once in the late summer.
In Southern California, English laurel creates a stunning hedge or green fence with very little initial investment. Set plants at 4 foot intervals to quickly create borders along property lines or to enclose unfenced backyards. English laurel also grows well in box plantings above walls and makes a stunning privacy screen for pool enclosures.
Los Angeles is known for being colorful and using bottlebrush to create a property boundary or hedge is one way to add a splash of unexpected scarlet to an urban landscape.
Although the bottlebrush can be trimmed up into a single-trunked tree, its usual growth pattern is shrubby, making it a natural for screens or informal hedges. Although typical plants display red flowers, cultivars have been developed that produce blossoms in cream, green, pink and mauve. The flowers are particularly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and other nectar seekers. Both leaves and blossoms have a pleasant, lemon-scented fragrance.
Salt, heat, drought and smog resistant, the tough bottlebrush is virtually...