Mountain Laurel II / Kalmia latifolia

kalgalaxy (300x288)Kalmia latifolia ‘Galaxy’ – This unique hybrid (bred by Dick Jaynes) has star-shaped five-petaled flowers that are white to pale pink with contrasting burgundy markings. ‘Galaxy’ blooms from May to June and is reliably evergreen. Like all Mountain Laurels it prefers an acidic soil and can be fed with rhododendron fertilizer. Grows 4-6′ high by 3-5′ wide. Hardy to zone 5.

kalpinkfrost (300x296)Kalmia latifolia ‘Pink Frost’ – This 1977 introduction was bred by John Eichelser and bears cotton candy coloured pleated flower buds that open to pale pink – nicely contrasting with the mid green foliage. Kalmia latifolia prefers a part to full sun exposure and an organic soil with even moisture that readily drains. Grows 3.5′ high and wide. Hardy to zone 5.

kalolympicwedding (300x300)Kalmia latifolia ‘Olympic Wedding’ – A delicate cultivar with pleated pale pink buds that open with contrasting burgundy banding and fine central highlights. After flowering there is some benefit to deadheading the spent blooms. Mountain Laurel the species is native to the eastern United States, from Maine to Florida. Grows 4′ high and wide. Hardy to zone 5.

kalraspberryglow (300x293)Kalmia latifolia ‘Raspberry Glow’ – Something really different in Mountain Laurel with eye-popping raspberry-pink blooms with a lighter center and a fine burgundy ring – there are borne from late May into early June. The flowers are nicely contrasted by the leathery mid green foliage with slightly twisted leaves. Part to full sun. Grows 4 to 5′ high and wide. Hardy to zone 5.

kalgoodrich (300x278)Kalmia latifolia¬†‘Goodrich’ (Kalmia latifolia f. fuscata) – A rare cultivar of Kalmia latifolia with full trusses of pale pink flowers heavily contrasted by a broad cinnamon-purple band. This John W. Goodrich hybrid also shows its pale pink stamens off well due to the dark banding. Mountain Laurels tend to have brittle branches so keep away from high traffic. Grows 3′ high. Zone 5.

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