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Kalmia Latifolia also commonly known as Mountain Laurel, Calico Bush and Spoonwood is a dense bushy shrub with glossy, dark green leaves. It displays attractive large, attractive clusters of pretty, bowl-shaped, crimped reddish buds and round flowers in large clusters of a pale bright pink that turn deeper pink with white centres. Kalmia flowers in the early summer from May to July. In terms of growth habit, Mountain Laurel is a dense, bushy shrub with glossy, lance shaped and dark green leaves. It is considered to be relatively low maintenance and fits well in cottage gardens or informal plantings.
Of the Family Ericaceae and Genus Kalmia, their parentage comes from evergreen shrubs with simple, leathery leaves, and has origins in Eastern North America. The Kalmia Latifolia will grow to ultimate height of 2 metres and an ultimate spread of 1 metre, taking from 10-20 years to reach that level of growth.
Kalmia Latifolia requires soil on the acid side of neutral and will not tolerate alkaline soils very well. They grow best in moist but well-drained soils and can persist well in partial shade. In full sun Aspects, soil needs to be consistently moist. Mulching with leaf mold or pine needles is best to retain moisture and maintain the desired pH level in the rooting zone. From clay to loam to sand, as long as the soil drains well, but holds moisture well, the Calico Bush will persist well.
Considered a hardy evergreen, the Mountain Laurel is hardy to Zone H6 in the UK and Ireland (H6 zone is Hardy – very cold winter Hardy across the UK and northern Europe). Its preferred aspects can range from North, to East, to South, or to the West. As with several of the evergreens, ingestion can cause severe discomfort. The deer and rabbits must already know this as it offers good resistance to their feeding. One recommended site to plant your Spoonwood bush would be in a semi-shaded woodland along with rhododendron and azalea as they all have similar pH preferences.
This wonderful ornamental shrub is an excellent addition to your garden which may have acidic soils, regardless of shelter or sun exposure but that can be kept consistently moist with good drainage. It has a unique flower set that stands out and brings colour early in the season for you to enjoy.
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