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Kalmia latifolia

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© RHS

Characteristics

Plant type

Shrub

Habit

Bushy

Toxicity

Ingestion may cause severe discomfort

Resilience

Hardiness

H6 (hardy - very cold winter)

Colour

Flower

Pink in Spring and Summer

Foliage

Dark Green in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter

Size

Ultimate height

1.5-2.5 metres

Ultimate spread

1.5-2.5 metres

Time to ultimate height

10-20 years


Preferred common name

mountain laurel

Family

Ericaceae


Kalmia are evergreen shrubs with simple, leathery leaves and racemes or corymbs of bowl-shaped flowers in spring or summer

K. latifolia is a dense, bushy, medium-sized evergreen shrub with glossy dark green leaves. Flowers in large clusters, bright pale pink, opening from deeper pink, attractively crinkled buds in late spring and early summer

Other common names

  • American mountain laurel
  • broad-leav'd kalmia
  • calico bush
  • spoonwood tree

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Part shade

Aspect

  • North-facing, East-facing, South-facing or West-facing
  • Sheltered or Exposed

Cultivation

Grow in moist but well-drained acidic soil in partial shade, or in sun where the soil remains reliably moist; mulch in spring with leaf mould or well-rotted pine needles

Soil

  • Moist but well-drained
  • Acid or Neutral
  • Loam, Clay or Sand

Propagation

Propagate by semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Low Maintenance or Cottage/Informal Garden


How to care

Pruning

Pruning group 8

Pests

Can get mealybugs and vine weevil

Diseases

Generally disease free