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Kalmia latifolia

Native Plants

Mountain Laurel

3 Photos


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
  • Sun/Shade Conditions
  • Foliage Character
  • Soil Moisture
  • Flowering Period
  • Soil PH
  • Flower Color
    deep-pink, white 
  • Summer Foliage Color
  • Fall Foliage Color
  • Fruit/Seed Color