The kalmia: everything you need to know
The kalmia latifolia is an exceptional garden shrub. It has lush green foliage and stylish soft pink flowers that bloom from late May to early summer. In autumn, red fruits among its evergreen leaves add a blaze of colour. Kalmias are soft and strong, because even in winter, it can withstand heavy frost. Keen to find out about its advantages and characteristics? Want to know how to care for it? You’ll find all the answers here.
What is a kalmia?
Kalmia latifolia is a genus of the heather family (Ericaceae). Colloquially, it is known as the mountain laurel or spoonwood. It is a medium-sized, evergreen shrub. A typical feature is its dark green, slim, lanceolate leaves. It blooms mainly in June and July with bell-shaped clusters of flowers around the stems. These are often soft pink but can also be red, white or purple-brown.
What makes it so special? The kalmia is extremely hardy and can withstand temperatures of as low as -30°C. In autumn, it is particularly pleasing to the eye. It also requires little maintenance and has good disease resistance.
How do you care for a kalmia?
- Water. Water your kalmia regularly after planting it in a pot or in the open soil. Keep its soil moist for the first year, but avoid waterlogging. Good news: once your plant has firmly rooted in, it will be strong enough to survive periods without much water.
- Shade or semi-shade. Kalmia latifolia loves growing in the semi-shade or in a spot with filtered sunlight. Putting it somewhere dark will stymy its growth, and it’s not a fan of full sun either.
- Ideal soil. Kalmias prefer slightly acidic, moisture-retaining soil. Especially during the first year after planting, it is crucial to keep the roots uniformly moist.
- Use the right fertilizer. A kalmia does not need much extra feeding. When planting, opt for free-draining compost. If you do decide to give your plant extra fertilizer, wait until spring.
- Drought. Kalmia is an extremely strong plant that will survive dry spells. Even so, be kind to your kalmia: provide it with free-draining soil and water it from time to time. Kalmias deserve it.
- Pruning. Kalmias are slow-growing plants. Pruning isn’t necessary. Couldn’t be easier, right?
Characteristics of a kalmia
- The kalmia is a medium-sized shrub with lush, delicate leaves. It is hardy and will therefore add a refreshing splash of green to your garden during the cold season.
- The kalmia blooms abundantly from May to June or even July. During that period, its soft pink, bowl-shaped flowers will brighten up your garden.
- Its average flowering time is four to six weeks.
- The kalmia is a slow grower. It grows at a rate of no more than 10 cm per year and reaches an average height of between 1.5 and 2m.
- The kalmia prefers acidic soil and grows best in light shade or semi-shade.
- Kalmias will survive dry periods on one condition: good soil is crucial. They should also be watered now and again. Especially after planting, it is important to water your plant regularly to prevent it from drying out.
What makes a Hortinno Kalmia so unique?
The kalmia varieties in the Hortinno range are strong, evergreen varieties that flower abundantly in late spring. Hortinno’s growers cultivate well-filled plants for you that are ready to grow into beautiful shrubs. Hortinno offers a total of 6 varieties that will decorate your garden with clusters of lacy flowers when they bloom.