Ruscus racemosus

Alexander's laurel, poet's laurel

Ruscus racemosus is a beautiful evergreen shrub that makes a great addition to any garden. It has glossy, dark green foliage and produces small, white flowers in the spring.

It is a low-maintenance shrub that is easy to care for and can be used as a hedge or as a specimen plant. It is drought-tolerant and can tolerate a wide range of soil types.

It is a great choice for a low-maintenance garden or landscape.

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Origin: Turkey, North Syria
Genus: Danae
Species / Cultivar: racemosa
Common Name: Alexander's laurel, poet's laurel
Synonym: Ruscus racemosus

Plant Biography

Ruscus racemosus, is an evergreen perennial shrub reaching about a metre and a half in height and is native to southern Turkey, north-west Syria and northern Iran. Its leaves are small, leathery, and dark green, and its flowers are small, greenish-white, and clustered in a raceme (a cluster of flowers arranged along a stem).

The Alexander’s Laurel is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens, and its leaves and stems are used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

Alongside the bay tree (Laurus nobilis), the Romans and Greek were using in antiquity this spineless plant to create the laurel wreaths representing praise for a victory or great achievement.

Ruscus racemosus
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Fast
Expect to see prolific growth, especially during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Full Shade
Tolerates the complete range of light levels, a very accommodating plant!
Eventual Height: 1.0 - 1.5m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1.0 - 1.5m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Hardy
Survives unprotected in an average winter. May need protection in extreme long frosts.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

The Ruscus racemosus loves a good rich soil, moist most of the time in a sheltered from cold winds location. It can grow in most types of soil but would thrive in a slightly acidic soil.

Prune in mid-late spring after the risk of frost has passed and immediately after flowering. Pruning at this time will avoid frost damage to new shoots, and any pruning scars will be concealed by new growth.

Fertilise with a balanced fertiliser as soon as the new growth starts coming through.

Divide the clumps every 3 – 5 years, by digging them and dividing the rhizomes. This is the main method of propagation as growing these plants from seeds can take forever and a day.


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