Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)

Scientific Name

Kalmia latifolia L.

Common Names

Mountain Laurel, American Mountain Laurel, Calico Bush, Spoonwood, Spoonwood Tree, Broad-Leav'd Kalmia


Chamaedaphne latifolia, Kalmia latifolia f. latifolia, Kalmia latifolia var. latifolia

Scientific Classification

Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Ericoideae
Tribe: Phyllodoceae
Genus: Kalmia


Color: Pink to white
Bloom Time: Late spring and early summer


Kalmia latifolia is the state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It is a dense, bushy, medium-sized, evergreen shrub, up to 30 feet (9 m) tall. The leaves are glossy, dark green in color, up to 4.7 inches (12 cm) long and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide. Flowers in late spring and early summer. Flowers are round, ranging from pink to white, and occur in clusters.

Kalmia latifolia - Mountain Laurel

How to Grow and Care

Mountain Laurel is hardy to zone 5. In colder areas, it will need to be protected in winter with burlap barriers to block the winter wind.

Purchase plants from your local garden center. Look for the hardiest varieties for cold areas. Plant shrubs from spring, after all, the danger of frost has passed, to summer in well-drained, moist, acidic, cool soils. Avoid windy areas, if possible. Space plants 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 m) apart.

Keep young shrubs well watered. Keep the soil evenly moist and acidic with a layer of wood chips or evergreen bark mulch. Fertilize mountain laurel in spring with plant food for acidic-loving plants such as you'd use for Rhododendrons.

Mountain Laurel will get spindly, develop leaf spots and have few flowers if grown in too much shade. Look for leaf spot resistant varieties if growing under these conditions. It also doesn't grow well in poorly drained soils. It's a slow grower that should only be pruned to shape the plant in spring after flowering. Dead, diseased and broken branches can be taken out at any time. Mountain laurel doesn't have many pest problems… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Mountain Laurel.


Native to the eastern United States.


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