Kalmia latifolia – Mountain Laurel

Kalmia Mountain Laurel is best grown in cool, moist, rich, acidic, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade. Mulch to retain moisture and keep root zones cool. Plants tolerate a wide range of light conditions (full sun to full shade), but are best in part shade (morning sun with early to mid-afternoon shade). Better drainage required.

Kalmia latifolia, commonly called mountain laurel, is a gnarled, multi-stemmed, broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree. It is noted for its excellent spring flowers and quality year round foliage. It typically grows as a dense rounded shrub to 5-15’ tall, opening up and developing gnarly branches with age. Flowers appear in terminal clusters, typically covering the shrub in late May-June for several weeks. Flower is cup shaped with five sides and ranges in color from rose to white with purple markings inside. Elliptic, alternate, leathery, glossy evergreen leaves are dark green above and yellow green beneath and reminiscent to the leaves of rhododendrons.

All parts of this plant are toxic if ingested. Mountain laurel has acquired a number of different common names over time including ivy bush, spoonwood, calico bush and American laurel. Superior flowering shrub for groups or massing in shrub borders, cottage gardens, woodland areas or wild/naturalized areas. Hardiness zone is 4 to 9. Approximately height is 4.5 to 16.00 feet and spreads between 4.5 to 16.00 feet. Bloom time is in May and blooms with rose to white with purple markings.

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