Mountain laurel

Kalmia latifolia and cvs.

Photo/Illustration: 
Steve Aitken
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Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia and cvs.)
KAL-mee-ah lat-ih-FOE-lee-ah
Genus:  Kalmia

This U.S. native shrub has glossy, dark green leaves. Bowl- or cup-shaped pink to white flowers are borne in large clusters from late spring to midsummer. Cultivars include white-flowered 'Pristine', suitable for Zone 8; red-budded, pink-flowered 'Olympic Fire' and 'Sarah'; compact 'Elf' and 'Minuet'; and, for Zone 5, red-budded ‘Nathan Hale’ and 'Ostbo Red'.

Care: 

Cultivars must be chosen carefully to suit growing conditions. Mountain laurel thrives in acidic, well-drained soil. In the South and mid-Atlantic region, it needs morning sun and afternoon shade to flower well. It will grow in full sun in the North and at higher elevations in the South.

Propagation: 

Greenwood cuttings in late spring, or semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer.

Problems: 

Fungal leaf spots and blights, leaf gall, powdery mildew, weevils, scale insects, lace bugs, and borers.

Overview

Height
6 ft. to 10 ft.
Spread
6 ft. to 10 ft.
Light
Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture
Dry to Medium
Characteristics
Showy Flowers
Bloom Time
Spring,
Summer
Flower Color
Pale Dogwood,
Hazelnut
Foliage Color
Variegated Foliage
Uses
Beds and Borders
Style
Woodland Garden
Seasonal Interest
Spring Interest
Type
Shrubs

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