European Kalmia Society - Landscaping

European Kalmia Society


Species of Laurel
Laurel Cultivars
Growing Laurels
Pests & Diseases
Where to Buy
Where to See

Japanese Dogwood (Cornus kousa) is one of the best companion plants for Kalmia.
photo: Julia Westhoff

Mountain Laurel is a broad-leaved evergreen that looks good all year and has exquisite blossoms from late spring until early summer. The growing conditions that Kalmia prefer are quite similar to rhododendron and in addition Kalmia flower clearly later. Therefore they are ideal partners for rhododendron and other Ericaceae.
Kalmia can and do fit in many garden styles, including formal, rock and Japanese. They are particularly suited to translate natural landscapes into condensed forms around gardens and parks.
Kalmia in the Background
The large native plants or the cultivars can be grouped together for screening, to soften buildings and to dress off the edge of wooden areas.
With Kalmia one can plant natural growing borders. When there is not enough space, they can be easily shaped.
Individual Placement
When you use Kalmia only for screening, you will never realize the unique shape of the bud an open flower. In each garden with Mountain Laurel there should be a special place, where the visitors have a direct view on these details. That can be near a place with seats or close to a path or a gate. When a nice flowering Kalmia is situated in an area, that you pass every day, you can watch the amazing change that is happening while the buds open to flowers. Most of the Kalmia cultivars have got a compact habit but do not look ungainly when they are situated on a separate place.
Companion plants
The list of possible companion plants seems endless. Important are the periods of bloom, fall colour, mixes of deciduous and evergreen (needled and broad-leaved) plants, annuals and perennials. Laurels are low-maintenance plants and can be an attractive major component in many gardens.