Mountain laurel is a broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree that produces beautiful, intricate flowers early in the season. It is a native of the mountainous regions of the eastern United States (from Florida to Maine) and favors the same growing environments as its close relatives, rhododendrons and blueberries, so acid soils are a must. It's quite hardy and versatile in the landscape. There are many dwarf cultivars ideal for small garden spaces as well as taller forms appropriate for large planting areas.
The glossy dark green leaves of mountain laurel look great year-round. In late spring and summer it sets large, round clusters of small crimped flowerbuds. These open into chalice-shaped flowers with crimped edges. Each crimped edge holds a tiny stamen that releases and flips upward when pollinators enter the complex flowers. The blooms may be red, pale, pink, rose, maroon or white, and many bicolored cultivars are available. The clusters are along the tips of branches and create a very pretty effect.
Mountain laurel needs acid soil that is high in organic matter and well-drained. Partial sun to partial shade is ideal. Too much shade can result in a less uniform growth habit and reduced flowering. Prune lightly, if at all, as this plant is very slow to recover. Fungal leafspot is a common problem as is sunscald and leaf desiccation due to winter winds.
Mountain laurel looks at home in a large rockery or shrub border with rhododendrons. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Kalmia
Species - Latifolia
Common name - Mountain Laurel
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 4 - 8
Height - 1.80-3 m
Spread - 2.40-3 m
Plant type - Shrub
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Sand, Well Drained
Water requirements - Average Water
Landscape uses - Alpine, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall
Germination rate - 80%
Bloom season - Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer
Leaf / Flower color - Dark Green / Pink, Rose
|Germination||1. Fill a growing container with peat moss. Sprinkle the Kalmia Latifolia seeds on top of the peat moss and place the container in a clear plastic bag. Seal the bag and place it into the refrigerator for 8 to 12 weeks.|
2. Remove the container from the refrigerator and add just enough water to moisten. Move the container, still in the plastic bag, to a sunny, warm location.
3. Check the peat moss every two to three days and add water only if it feels completely dry to the touch.
4. Remove the container from the plastic bag when you notice the first seedling. Continue to water whenever the peat feels dry.
5. Move the seedlings into individual growing containers filled with potting soil when they are 4 to 5 inches tall. Water whenever the top 1/2 inch of potting soil is dry.
6. Transplant to a well-drained, partially sunny outdoor location when the plants are 8 to 10 inches tall.