Kalmia Latifolia, or Mountain Laurel, is a broadleaved evergreen tree in the Heath family that is native to eastern North America. It tends to grow near water in the mixed light of woodland edges. Come late May and early June, the Mountain Laurel blooms with showy pinkish-white flowers. Mountain Laurels have become popular landscaping plants because they are shade tolerant, are evergreen, and produce such gorgeous flowers. (See Reference 1.)
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Choose which cultivar you wish to purchase. Thanks to selective breeding, your choices include a huge variety of colours (ranging from pure white to pure red, with many options in between) (See Reference 2), as well as dwarf or regular sizes. (See Reference 1) There are, in fact, over eighty cultivated varieties of Kalmia Latifolia! (See Reference 3)
Select a location to plant your Mountain Laurel. The site should be semi-shaded, or sunny but with plenty of shade for the roots, which are shallow and tend to dry out easily. Soil should be acidic with plenty of humus, and it should also be well-drained. (See Reference 3)
Find a cultivar source. Mountain Laurel is not easily grown from seed or cuttings, so it is best to purchase a potted plant. If you live in the eastern United States you should be able to find a local source; call the nurseries in your area and ask if they grow Mountain Laurel. (See Reference 1) If you live elsewhere you will likely need to have your plants shipped to you from an online supplier. Find an online supplier by searching the Internet, or see the resources section below for several options.
Plant the Mountain Laurel at your selected site. Mulch the ground around the plant to keep the roots moist, and water frequently. (See Reference 3) Ask your supplier for any special directions on the continued care of your plant.
Tips and warnings
- Before you purchase any plants online make sure that you do not live in a restricted state --- suppliers cannot ship Mountain Laurel to certain states due to agricultural regulations and/or practical considerations. Alaska, Hawaii, California and Arizona are commonly restricted states. (See Reference 4)
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