How to Grow and Care for Skip Laurel Shrubs

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We recently planted skip laurels around our pool area to create a hedge. The skip laurel is low-maintenance and it grows under a variety of different conditions. It’s a beautiful shrub and it was a breeze to plant once we decided where we wanted it to go. We are really loving the look and feel like they’ve made a great addition to our landscaping. Skip laurels are also known as schip laurels or schipka laurels.

What is a Skip Laurel Shrub?

Skip laurel shrubs are evergreen shrubs that have dark green leaves throughout the year. The foliage is glossy with evergreen leaves. The shrub is vase-shaped with a layered appearance. In the spring, it has stalks of fragrant white flowers. In fall and spring, there are small red berries that attract birds. 

Skip Laurel’s competitive roots are tolerant of alkaline, dry, and even poor soils, but they do not like lots of fertilization.

They tolerate the cold and do well in the shade. They’re not picky about soil types as long as they’re well-drained, so you don’t have to worry about that. They’re a pretty terrific shrub if you ask me. 

What is a Skip Laurel Hedge?

Put these shrubs together, and they make an excellent privacy shield or hedge. As I mentioned above, this is how we are using them, even though we will have to wait a year or two before they grow into a solid hedge.

Will Deer Eat Skip Laurels?

The short answer is yes. They will eat them. However, they will only eat skip laurels if there is nothing else for them to eat. In other words, during warm months when there are plenty of other plants that deer like to eat, they won’t touch skip laurels. But during the winter, when their preferred food is all gone, they will start munching on them as a last resort. We know this because deer ate every leaf off of our skip laurels last winter. This was very frustrating, but the good news is that they came back better than ever in the spring!

Amount of Sun Needed

Skip laurels do best in partial shade or partial sun. If you want a cherry-laurel type of shrub that can do well in the shade, the skip laurel should be your top choice.

Ideally, skip laurels would like to be somewhere with dappled or filtered sunlight. 

How Tall Does Skip Laurel Grow?

Skip Laurel shrubs can grow up to two feet per year, which is above average for a shrub. If you’re growing it for privacy or a hedge like ours, this is great news! They grow up to 24 inches per year which means you will see a huge difference within a year of planting.

Hardiness Zone

Skip laurels are in hardiness zones 6-9 with best growing conditions in zones

Mature Size of Skip Laurels

Skip laurels can grow 6 to 10 feet tall and 5 to 7 feet wide which will take about 10 years. They’ve been known to get as high as 18 feet. 


You’ll need to water your skip laurel every day for the first week after planting. Then you can gradually reduce it to once a week. You can place some mulch down to hold in the water if you’d like. They are drought-tolerant, but you’ll need to water them more than once a week in cases of extreme heat. 

Skip laurels are easy to prune, making it easy to get a clean appearance. You’ll want to prune in the late spring or early summer after the flowers have fallen off. They also look great unpruned for a more natural look. 

You’ll also find skip laurels to be disease-resistant. You can fertilize them in the spring after they’ve flowered by using a slow-release fertilizer. 

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  • Reply David Hollier

    There are so many types of laurels, I see. It looks like we have the schip laurel, but not sure. How can we tell? We just purchased our home 6 months ago and we cannot find out from the builder. Are they all kinda the same with the pruning idea?

    May 1, 2022 at 6:09 pm
  • Reply GWA

    In my experience, “deer resistant” is more hope or luck than a firm promise. In late winter, hungry deer will eat anything. Even with adequate browse available, deer will “sample” Schipka Laurels located adjacent to a regularly-used deer trail. More destructively, bucks may use young Schipka Laurels as sparring partners as the rutting season nears.

    July 12, 2022 at 5:10 pm
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