Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mountain Laurel
Kalmia latifolia 'Kaleidoscope'

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Kalmia (KAL-mee-uh) (Info)
Species: latifolia (lat-ee-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Kaleidoscope

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By lmelling
Thumbnail #1 of Kalmia latifolia by lmelling

By WaterCan2
Thumbnail #2 of Kalmia latifolia by WaterCan2


1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive lmelling On Oct 19, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

This particular cultivar needs moist, well drained soil on the acidic side. Water regularly as needed and it can be fertilized in spring. The leaves turn dark green and maintain their deep color through winter. Pink buds appear in early June, followed by a dazzling display of dark fucshia/red with a white corolla. Absolutely breath-taking when in bloom.

I planted this mountain laurel in 1997 as one of the first plantings in my garden at our new home. The first winter it was browsed by deer badly in it's location and had problems recovering. I moved it to a more sheltered location next to the house on the south side where it gets morning sun but is protected from afternoon sun by the corner of the back porch, and receives more moisture than where it was originally.

It seems to flower brilliantly only every other year - but when it does, it's outstanding. My shrub does not appear to want to increase it's size and has stayed at approximately 3'x2' for several years, although the tag said it should grow to 8'x8'. I have not bothered to prune it for several years. At this posting I've had it for 7 years. It's one of those shrubs that you forget you have, until it starts to bloom!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Ithaca, New York

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