Mountain Laurel Shrub- How to Grow Kalmia latifolia

Mountain laurel shrub, Kalmia latifolia, is an evergreen shrub with showy flowers. Find out how to maintain the right conditions to produce the showy flowers of the mountain laurel shrub.

"Mountain Laurel Shrub"

Mountain Laurel Shrub in Bloom

Facts on Mountain Laurel Shrubs

Mountain laurels grow in Zones 5-9 and reach 7-15’ h x 7-15’ w. They have a rounded form with medium texture and rather slow growth. The broadleaf evergreen requires a well-aerated, acid soil similar to that preferred by rhododendrons and azaleas.

Some exposure to sun is required for proper flower color development of red and pink cultivars. The showy flowers open in late spring or early summer. Breeding has produce red-budded, cinnamon-banded, pure white, and deep pink and red forms. Foliage is dark green and glossy, but in full sun it can be yellow-green.

Use mountain laurel in foundation plantings, on partially shaded sites and for naturalizing. It requires cool, moist acid organic soil and partial shade to full sun. Avoid windswept sites and heavy high pH soils. Foliar burn may occur on exposed sites. Protect them from winter sun and wind in northern climates.

"Kalmia latifolia"

Kalmia latifolia 'Raspberry Glow'

Care of Mountain Laurel Shrub

The soil can be amended with peat moss, sulfur, or iron sulfate if you need to increase the acidity of the soil. Transplant container-grown plants in spring or fall. Supply consistent moisture if rainfall is not enough. Mulch to help maintain the soil moisture and keep the shallow roots cool. Feed every spring with an acid plant food. Remove flowers after they finish blooming.

Propagation: sow seeds in early spring. Cuttings are taken in late summer.

Pests and Diseases consist of: lace bugs which cause speckling on leaves, leaf spot which can be troublesome on nonresistant cultivars. Avoid damaging plants with sharp gardening tools as the wounds are common entry points for borers.

Related Species:

‘Bullseye’ has white flowers with a purple band.

‘Elf’ is a dwarf cultivar with pink buds opening to pale pink flowers.

‘Ostbo Red’ has deep red buds followed by light pink flowers that deepen the longer they are open.

‘Raspberry Glow’ has burgundy-red buds that open to pink flowers.

‘Sarah’ is a compact grower with red buds that open to pinkish-red flowers.

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