Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Kalmia latifolia

Full sun to light shade; moderately wet to moderately dry moisture level; does best in rich soil but will grow in gravelly and sandy soils, loamy sands, loams, silt loams, clay loams and peats but not heavy clay; requires strongly to moderately acid pH.

7-15 feet height by 7-15 feet spread; blooms in May; white or pale pink flowers; fruits are little spherical seed capsules.

Growth Rate:  Slow

Maintenance:  Suffers from occasional diseases and insect problems including leaf spots, blight, borers, scale, white fly and lace bugs.  Shallow root system needs a thin layer of mulch to keep roots cool and hold moisture. Needs a humid environment. Requires attention to cultural details to do well.

Propagation:  Difficult from cuttings; moderately easy from seed.

Native Region:  Highland Rim and East Tennessee

Evergreen shrub that is one of our finest, flowering native shrubs.  Forms a large, rounded shape often with beautiful gnarled and twisted trunks.  Very showy and pleasantly perfumed blossoms resemble an upside down umbrella Exquisite planted en masse and goes well with rhododendrons and azaleas.  Tolerates a wide range of light levels from full sun to full shade but flowers best with some sun plus needs some shade in the afternoon.  All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans; foliage is poisonous to hoofed browsers.  Very low wildlife value. Cultivars available.

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