Prunus lusitanica

Description: This is a useful evergreen with very dark green leaves which make an excellent backcloth for the back of a border. Also useful as a tree, hedge or even topiary.  Very hardy and easy to grow. Leaf stalks are red which are distinctive against the dark green especially in winter. Long racemes of white flowers in June followed by black berries.

Uses: Very good when used as a backcloth for red stemmed Cornus for winter effect.

Climate/Position: Can be grown in shade or sun, but prefers light shade.

Height/Spread: 5-7 metres x 4 metres spread.

Soil Requirements: Any moisture retentive soil that is not too wet in winter. Can tolerate dry shade.

Pruning: Can be left unpruned to form large evergreen shrub. However, responds well to trimming if shaping and size control required, also can be trimmed as a hedge in June or clipped three times a year (February, June and October) if used for topiary.

Special Requirements:

Additional Interest: It was introduced into Britain from Madeira via Portugal in 1648 during the reign of Charles I. The original specimen grew at Oxford Botanic Garden until it was cut down in 1826