Prunus caroliniana, commonly called cherry laurel, is an evergreen tree or large shrub that is native to low woods, fields and thickets from southeastern North Carolina to Florida west to Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. It is most often seen growing 15-20' tall but may rise in tree form to as much as 40' tall. Glossy, lanceolate-oblong dark green leaves (to 2-4" long) have pointed tips. Fragrant white flowers (each to 3/16" across) bloom in dense racemes (2-3" long) in late winter to early spring (February to April). Flowers (each to 5/16" long) are followed by green fruits which initially turn reddish purple before ripening in fall to shiny black. Birds love the fruit. Best in moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants have good drought tolerance. It is grown as a specimen, hedge, windbreak or screen.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
1. Put some moist sand in a ziplock bag.
2. Put the seeds in the sand and seal the bag.
3 Put the ziplock bag in the refrigerator for 3 months.
4. Sow the seeds in containers with a mixture of potting soil and sand or vermiculite. The containers should have drainage holes in the bottom.
3. Water the seeds and keep the soil moist but not wet.
4. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted outdoors.