Mt Cuba Center
Explore the Gardens Virtual Tour Virtual Tour
HOURS

Mt. Cuba is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.

An ecological gardening certificate student completes a Native Plants of Fall exam in Mt. Cuba Center's naturalistic gardens.
Ecological Gardening Certificate Learn More Learn More
Program Guide

Classes offered year-round. Learn to garden in harmony with nature, take an art or wellness class, and more!

Wide shot of flowering Amsonia.
Latest Trial: Amsonia for the Mid-Atlantic Region Amsonia for the Mid-Atlantic Region Amsonia for the Mid-Atlantic Region
Trial Garden

Mt. Cuba Center evaluates native plants and related cultivars for horticultural and ecological value.

Mt. Cuba Center's natural lands pictured at sunset.
Protecting Natural Lands Learn More Learn More
Ecological Land Management

Mt. Cuba conserves and stewards more than 1,000 acres including meadows, forests, streams and riparian corridors.

Two guests walk down the West Slope path in spring at Mt. Cuba Center.
Gift a Membership Gift Guide Gift Guide
MEMBERSHIP

Enjoy unlimited general admission, member discounts, guest passes, and more!

close
Mt Cuba Center
Back to list

Kalmia latifolia

Native Plants

Mountain Laurel

3 Photos


Summary

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is a slow-growing, multi-stemmed, broad-leaved evergreen shrub. Typically growing 8-15′ tall it prefers humusy, acidic, moist, and well-drained soils in part shade. Plants are fully capable of growing in full sun with adequate moisture and fertile soil, though they are intolerant of heavy clay or wet soils. 

When young, the shrub exhibits a dense rounded habit and as it matures it will generally open up to reveal a gnarly branching architecture. The dark green leaves are glossy, leathery, and 2-5” long by ¾- 1½” wide. Flowers are borne in terminal clusters, 4-6” across, at the tip of the stems in late May into June and typically cover the plant. When in bud they resemble a small head of the vegetable romanesco, and upon opening they appear like small, delicate fluted cups. Each flower is about 1” across and can be white, pink, rosy-pink, or red, all with interior purple markings. Deadheading after flowering keeps plants tidy. Prune to remove dead wood and after flowering to maintain desired size. This allows light into the interior of the plant to encourage new growth. Flowers attract bees and butterflies.  

Mountain laurel’s attractive evergreen foliage makes it an ideal choice for a screen planting or hedge. Select a pink flowering form to combine with Pink Profusion Bowman’s root (Gillenia trifoliata ‘Pink Profusion’) and Color Dream alumroot (Heuchera ‘Color Dream’) in a foundation planting design. For a naturalized setting combine with a mixed underplanting of large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora), hay-scented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula), and clusters of Canada lily (Lilium canadense). Zones 4-9. 


More Details

  • Plant Type
    shrub 
  • Sun/Shade Conditions
    part-shade-to-full-sun 
  • Foliage Character
    evergreen 
  • Soil Moisture
    moist 
  • Flowering Period
    late-spring
  • Soil PH
    acidic 
  • Flower Color
    deep-pink, white 
  • Summer Foliage Color
    green 
  • Fall Foliage Color
    green 
  • Fruit/Seed Color
    brown