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Products > Prunus caroliniana 'Compacta'
 
Prunus caroliniana 'Compacta' - Dwarf Carolina Laurel Cherry
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Rosaceae (Roses)
Origin: Southeast US (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Creamy White
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Padus caroliniana, Laurocerasus caroliniana]
Height: 6-10 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Prunus caroliniana 'Compacta' (Dwarf Carolina Laurel Cherry) - A smaller and more compact grower than the species, this moderately fast growing evergreen shrub has an upright habit growth typically to 10 and 12 feet tall with a 3 to 6 foot spread but often kept considerably smaller. It has attractive 2 to 3 inch long glossy bright green narrowly elliptic leaves that have slightly wavy margins and when crushed have the distinctive odor of cherries or almond extract. In late winter into early spring appear the sweetly fragrant white flowers born amongst the foliage that are followed by purple-black berries. Plant in full to part sun in a fairly well-drained soil. It is relatively drought tolerant once established but has fairly shallow roots and best when given occasional irrigation. Hardy to 0F and useful in USDA Zones 7 to 10. Noted for its tolerance of heat, wind and dry conditions. This dwarf variety is noted for smaller leaves tighter branching and shorter internodes and because of its durability and compact growth, this adaptable plant is one of the more common hedge plants seen in coastal California gardens. It shears well into a large narrow screening hedge or can be shaped into a topiary or column and can be trained as a small tree. The flowers are attractive to butterflies and bees. The fruit in fall is not conspicuous and though attractive to birds, can be messy and stain paving; when regularly sheared, flowers and fruit are seldom produced. All parts of this plant are poisonous with the leaves having a high concentration of hydrocyanic acid, making them unpalatable to deer and potentially dangerous to livestock. This species is native to coastal Virginia south to northern Florida and west to Louisiana and east Texas to an elevation of 500 feet. The name for the genus in an adapted name that Linnaeus used from the Latin name for the plum tree in his in Hortus Cliffortianus. The specific epithet is in reference to it being first being described in South Carolina by Mark Catesby in his Natural History of Carolina, published in 1731. Catesby sent the plant in 1759 to Philip Miller who cultivated it in the Physic Garden at Chesea and described it as Padus caroliniana in 1768 in the The Gardeners Dictionary and this was later corected to Prunus caroliniana by William Aiton in Hortus Kewensis in 1789. It was also known as Laurocerasus caroliniana and has the common names Cherry laurel, Carolina cherry laurel, Laurel cherry, Carolina laurel cherry and Wild Mock Orange. This plant has slightly smaller leaves than another compact cultivar called 'Monus', but otherwise is very similar.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Prunus caroliniana 'Compacta'.