Little Leaf Laurels
Kalmia latifolia f. myrtifolia ‘Elf’
Kalmia latifolia — ‘Minuet’, ‘Tiddlywinks’, ‘Tinkerbell’ and ‘Little Linda’
Description: Our native mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is one of New England’s finest shrubs bearing shining leaves year round, and clusters of pale pink cup-like flowers in late May and early June. Selections and cultivars of this native beauty introduced by Dick Jaynes of Connecticut are becoming more available, lending a greater range of flower color, leaf size and plant habit to our palette.
The varieties—named ‘Elf’, ‘Minuet’, ‘Tiddlywinks’, ‘Tinkerbell’, and ‘Little Linda’—seem to twinkle when the blossoms emerge from their candy-like buds in May. They are compact, slow-growing evergreen plants, reaching a height of 3-4’ in 10 years.
Like our wild mountain laurels, these cultivars will thrive in full sun to partial shade. In sunny situations it is best to locate them where they are sheltered from drying winds and winter sun. They prefer well-drained, but not excessively dry, acid soils and benefit greatly from organic mulch to moderate soil temperatures and moisture. Given the right conditions mountain laurels are hardy in USDA Zones 4-9.
- Type/habit: Multi-stemmed woody shrub
- Key season and features of interest: Glossy green leaves; attractive spring flower clusters
- Flowering period: May – June
- Evergreen or deciduous: Evergreen
- Native? Yes
- Pollinator plant: Attracts pollinators
- Wildlife benefits: Cover for wildlife
- Site/Condition tolerance: Heavy shade
- Sun/Shade preference: Full sun to partial shade
- Soil condition preference: Moist, organic, well-drained, acidic soil
- Requires attention to cultural needs; susceptible to leaf spot, blight, borers and scale
Growth Habit: Slow growing, compact, dwarf to miniature form
Size (mature height and spread): 3-4’ tall and wide
Hardiness (USDA Zones): 4-9
Nativity: Eastern N. America
Suggested Uses: Border, mass planting, hedge, foundation, woodland areas
Year of award: 2003