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Mountain Laurel, Calico Bush
Scientific Name: Kalmia latifolia L.
Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 684. Courtesy of Kentucky Native Plant Society.
Recommended Temperature Zone:|
Sun Exposure: Part shade
Origin: Eastern part of the US, north to Canada
Growth Habits: Small evergreen tree or shrub with many twisted stems, 6 to 8 feet tall (1.8-2.4 m) or more (12 feet - 3.6 m); leaves shiny above, light green below, 2 to 5 inches long (5-12 cm)
Watering Needs: Keep the soil moist, water often, likes moist air
Propagation: Seeds in the fall, cuttings in summer, layering
The Mountain Laurel is the state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
There are a large number of varieties:
'Elf' is a dwarf variety, 2 to 3 feet tall (60-90 cm), slightly more spread, very pale pink flowers out of pink buds.
'Alpine Pink' is a variety with light pink flowers out of deep pink buds.
'Snowdrift' is a white compact variety.
The soil should be mulched to keep it cool. The Kalmia needs an acid soil and water, pH Range: 3.5 to 5.5 is recommended for the soil. Kalmias are pretty difficult to grow if their requirements are not fully met.
The buds are set in the fall. White to light pink flowers with purple markings, 1 inch in diameter (2.5 cm), in April to July. Remove the flowers as soon as they are spent to lenghten the blooming period.
A round, brown 0.25 inch long capsule (6 mm), containing very small seeds, splitting into 5 valves in September and October.
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