Shady Cherry Laurel

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Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Southeast U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 29-10-2011

Q. While looking for a plant that would serve as a hedge (about 10′ tall) and grow in full shade, the garden center folks recommended the pruninus caroliniana. What I have read on the web says it needs partial to full sun. Will it grow in full shade? Kay – Charlotte, NC

A. Light requirements recommendations are always a bit shady (go ahead groan) to most people.  In part because there are different kinds of shade – early morning shade, afternoon shade, evening shade, dappled shade, full evergreen shade etc.  Plus you can look at references and see different recommendations in from different authorities. Some of this comes from the fact that shade in the southern latitudes is different than shade in the northern latitudes.  Prunus caroliniana is a native to NC (thus the specific epithet caroliniana) and is what is called a tree like shrub – and so will like to get large and could be trained as a large shrub or a small mutli trunked tree.  My resources indicate that it would be a full sun plant but could tolerate some shade.  One way to determine the amount of light your spot gets is to use a sunlight calculator.  If it reads anything less than partial sun I would suspect the shrub would languish.  If it reads partial shade then perhaps a Clethra alnifolia may work.