Cherry Laurel Leaf Curl- 4 Reasons with Solution

Cherry laurel shrubs are gardeners’ favorite for their fast-growing properties with dark and glossy lush foliage. Their broad and evergreen leaves are true beauty in a garden. However, even though the shrubs have leathery leaves yet one day you might wonder about discovering your cherry laurel leaf is curling!

That is the time when you realize you have got a problem. Leaf curling of your favorite plants is surely not a good thing. The consequences can be deadly. And there might be plenty of reasons for the cherry laurel leaf being curled.

However, the main reasons are several leaf diseases due to fungal or bacterial attacks. Again, some other reasons for leaf curling include pest attacks, insufficient watering, wrong weather and climate, and so on.

Let’s describe the reasons elaborately and find you the best solutions to get rid of this problem.

ReasonFixing Guide
DiseasesApply fungicide and soapy solution
Pest attackApply pesticides and homemade remedies
Frost damageCover the plant during frost
Wrong environmentEnsure required surroundings

 Reasons Why Cherry Laurel Leaf is Curling [Fixing Guide]

Cherry Laurel Curling Leaf

1. Leaf Diseases

Cherry laurel leaves are prone to be attacked by several leaf diseases. These diseases can be fungal or bacterial. Among them, the most common ones are shot-hole, leaf spot, and powdery mildew diseases.

Powdery Mildew of Cherry Laurel

It is a fungal disease that mainly affects the young leaves of cherry laurel. Humid weather with temperatures from 6 to 30 degrees Celsius is favorable for this fungus to intrude and attack the leaves. Once powdery mildew gets severe, it will curl up the plant leaves.

However, powdery mildew disease is not destructive. Initially, the symptoms of the disease are found on the leaf surface. The surfaces are covered with visible white powder. The powdery coating spreads on the lower surface of the leaves as well.

Moreover, the disease attacks the tissues of the leaves. Thus, the tissue becomes brown and eventually, the leaves are damaged being all curled up. Especially, the edges of the leaves become corky.

Furthermore, the leaves drop out of the plant. Some leaves also show irregular holes on the surface.


  • Powdery coating
  • Brown tissue
  • Irregular holes on the surface
  • Corky, shriveled, and withered leaves
  • Dropping of leaves

Control Measure

  • Since powdery mildew is not a serious disease yet if the cherry laurel starts to appear unsightly then prune off the affected parts. Use secateurs for this task. Or, you can also use a hedge-trimmer to trim off the parts.
  • Always keep the leaves of cherry laurel dry since it interrupts the spread of powdery mildew.
  • Again, rainy weather is also unfavorable for this disease. So, if you have a potted cherry laurel let it get the rainwater.
  • Moreover, you can also use food-grade potassium bicarbonate. Take 5 grams of the element and mix it with one liter of water. Take the mixture in a spray bottle and spray over the powdery coating.
  • You can also apply fungicides that contain Tebuconazole ,propiconazole or Triticonazole. (our pick: Bonide 148 Infuse Systemic Disease Control Fungicide)

Nonetheless, if you have decided to prune off your cherry laurel then try not to prune the shrub heavily. It might end up aggravating the shrub by stressing it.

Shot-hole and Leaf Spot

Shot-hole with leaf spot disease is also a common disease in all varieties of laurel plants. This disease can be caused either by the Eupropolella or Stigmina fungi or by Pseudomonas syringae pv syringae, a bacterial pathogen.

This disease might take place in your precious cherry laurel if you allow overhead irrigation. Moreover, the shot-hole disease spreads to the leaves through water or rain splash. However, this disease is also not that deadly if you discover the attack in its initial stage.

Nonetheless, like powdery mildew, this disease also attacks the leaf tissue. Moreover, it creates brown leaf spots of several diameters. The spots can be 2 to 10mm in diameter. Eventually, the leaves curl up and drop out referring to as shot-hole. It seems like the leaves are shot. That is why it is named this way.


  • Leaf spot
  • Small holes
  • Water-soaked lesions
  • Brown leaves
  • Curled leaves

Control Measure

  • Clean up and destroy the weeds and affected parts of the cherry laurel plants.
  • Always practice clean cultivation and intercultural operation.
  • Pruning or trimming leaves is a solution for this disease attack as well.
  • Do not let the leaves wet while watering. Water the soil only.
  • Plant your cherry laurel where there is improved air circulation.
  • Shot-hole generally requires chemical control so you can use fungicide
  • Change the growing or weather conditions where you are growing your cherry laurel. Most of the time it works.

Root Rot of Cherry Laurel

The disease is known as Armillaria shoestring root rot. Yes, it occurs in cherry laurel by several Armillaria fungi species. Because of this root rot disease, it affects the leaves, buds, and stems of the plant.

This disease cause browning of the leaves and the leaves become shriveled and all curled up. Consequently, the foliage of cherry laurel looks unhealthy, curls up, and eventually falls from the plant.

Moreover, this disease produces a white substance between the wood and the bark of the tree. It happens at the base portion of cherry laurel near the root. The bark becomes covered with stringy and blackish strands that affect the leaves of the plant as well.

However, this disease can be severe at times. You might also find mushroom structures near the base of the plant. Thus, it is important to take control measures as early as possible.


  • Unhealthy and curled foliage
  • Stunted growth of leaves, stems, and roots
  • Barks develop stringy strands
  • Roots become rotten

Control Measure

  • Collect and destroy the affected parts as long as you notice the disease.
  • Exchange the soil of your cherry laurel as soon as possible with new and fresh soil.
  • If the infection is severe, let the roots be exposed especially when it is summer.
  • Water and feed the cherry laurel properly to alleviate its healthy growth.
  • Do not water the exposed roots or trunk of cherry laurel.

It is very unfortunate that once the armillaria shoestring root rot becomes severe, you barely can bring back life to your cherry laurel. So, better you take care of it from the beginning.

2. Pest Attack

There are several pests including scale, psyllids, whiteflies, vine weevil, bay sucker, slugs, and others that are prone to attack cherry laurel.

Scale insects

Scale insects are the main reason why your cherry laurel leaves and twigs have bumps on them. This insect also curls the leaf edge. The insects secret honeydew and turn the leaves brown and yellow. They are also responsible for encouraging sooty mold on leaves.

Scale insects also attack the stem of cherry laurel. You may discover clusters of bumps on the stems as well. Major infestation by these insects can kill your cherry laurel shrubs.


  • Clusters of bumps on leaves
  • Curled and withered leaves
  • Affected stems
  • Slow growth rate

White Flies

Whiteflies are no different. Yellowing the leaves, the insects can curl and weaken the plant. They take place underside of the leaves. Moreover, the insects suck up the cell sap from the leaf and leave the foliage curled and all shriveled.

Furthermore, whiteflies also promote sooty mold and secret honeydew.


  • Yellowish mottling over leaves
  • Visible dandruff-like pests
  • Sooty mold fungus

Vine Weevil

Vine Weevil on Cherry Laurel

Vine weevils are the ultimate evil player when you are growing cherry laurel. These insects eat up the roots of the plant and consequently affect the plant till it wilts and dies.

However, vine weevils are more destructive when the cherry laurel shrub is young. When the plant establishes itself well, this insect hardly can affect it.


  • Damages the root
  • Leaves become wilted
  • Plant dies


Psyllids are also destructive to foliage causing a higher rate of distortion, discoloration, and curling. They also suck sap from the foliage and leave it wilted.


  • Discoloration of leaves
  • Wilting and curling
  • Distortion of plant

Control Measure

  • Scrape off the telltale bumps from the surface of cherry laurel leaf surface when it is attacked by scale insects.
  • Take rubbing alcohol and dip a cotton swab into it. Then scrape off the scale insects. Or, you can also use your fingernails.
  • Apply mild horticultural oil over the insect-affected parts during early spring only.
  • Again, you can spray commercial insecticidal soap three times a week if the insect attack is already established. (our pick: Natria 820042A Insecticidal Soap)
  • Or, also, you can use commercial pesticides for dealing with specific insects.
  • Invite beneficial insects and birds like ladybird beetle, dragonflies, and all. Again, you can call for nematodes as well. nematodes can control vine weevil greatly.

For your information, do not forget to check out the instructions while applying insecticides or pesticides to the cherry laurel.

3. Frost Damage

Frost damage in winter or autumn can occur in your cherry laurel plant and affect the leaves. Early frosts in autumn can take place and shrivel the plant making it blackish. Hence, it is a reason why cherry laurel leaves are curling.

However, in winter the damage can be severe. It causes brown patches on the leaves and stems and curls the foliage. Things get worse when the cold wind and snow affect the plant altogether and there is no protection system.

Furthermore, fungal infections can take place from the frost-damaged tissue of the plant. Again, young plants are more likely to be affected.


  • Unsightly appearance
  • Curled and shriveled leaves
  • Brown patches
  • Moulted leaves

Control Measure

  • If the frost damage is in autumn, cut back affected shoot and leaves.
  • Again, if the shrub is potted, bring the pot inside when there is cold wind and snow.
  • Or, cover the cherry laurel with a blanket or plastic sheet when it is snowing.

However, frost damage can also occur in spring. This time, it affects the newly growing and vulnerable tissues.

4. Cherry Laurel in the Wrong Environment

Though cherry laurel is tolerable to all light conditions yet it prefers a certain climate to thrive and not let the leaves curl. If the soil is soggy all time, the plant and its leaves will be affected.

Hence, watering the plant is tricky. If you keep your cherry laurel underwatered for days, the leaves will curl and the shrub will be dead.

Again, the soil containing few nutrient elements will also cause the curling of leaves.


  • Stunted growing
  • Browning of leaves
  • Curled leaves

Control Mechanism

  • Plant your cherry laurel in USDA hardiness zones from 5 to 9.
  • Again, plant it where more sunlight can be got in cool climates.
  • Also, if you are planting the cherry laurel in warmer areas then plant where it can get more shade.
  • Create a proper drainage system so that the soil is not soggy anymore.
  • Prune cherry laurel in early summer or later spring only after it finishes blooming.
  • Water the plant every two days if it is planted in dry or sandy soil.

Optimum Requirement for Cherry Laurel

Soil pH6.5 to 7.5
Water3/4 times a week
Temperature59º to 68ºF
Growth25 feet tall, spread 30 feet



Why are my cherry laurel leaves drooping?

Plants start to droop when it gets too dry. It might be the same reason why your cherry laurel leaves are drooping. Apply deep water to get rid of this problem. Once you come over the problem, go back to the normal watering process.

How do you treat cherry laurel?

Pruning timely is the ultimate solution. However, try to fix problems immediately when the plant gets affected by pests, fungus, or bacteria. Also, feed the plant properly.

How do you save a dying laurel?

Do not let your laurel to stress due to drought or heavy water. Plant it in healthy soil and prune timely.

Final Words

So, now you know why your cherry laurel leaves are curling. However, being affected by diseases or pest attacks are the main reason. Yet, other reasons are not negligible at all.

Thus, it is important to take care of the shrub properly with everything it requires. And it is possible since cherry laurel shrubs are low-maintenance.

Therefore, if our article has enlightened you even a bit then ping us with your feedback. More power to your cherry laurel!

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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