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The Plant Guide

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Mountain laurel

Kalmia latifolia and cvs.

KAL-mee-ah lat-ih-FOE-lee-ah Audio

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'.

CareCultivars 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.

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

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

  • Genus : Kalmia
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 6 to 10 feet
  • Plant Width : 6 to 10 feet
  • Moisture : Dry to Medium
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Flower Color : Pink, Red, White
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Bloom Time : Spring, Summer
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
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