I went to a Sandy Springs Garden Tour today, and was enchanted by some Mountain Laurels in one of the gardens. Does anyone grow them? I would LOVE to adapt one for my garden.
I love Mountain Laurel as well! My husband got me one for my birthday years ago. It's dead. :(
I learned that the key to successfully growing them is to replicate natural growing conditions. They are a hillside understory plant -- I think they like a lot of the same conditions as rhododendron. Elevated a bit above ground level... excellent drainage.... dappled light.
I want try again soon, now that I know what I'm doing.
Thanks Bagsmom, I would definitely try one.
We have several mountain laurels, collected on private property in the Pickens County, SC, mountains. They are planted under the shade of pine trees in ordinary Upcountry South Carolina red clay soil with a constant feed of pine needles, providing mulch and acidic nutrients. I walked out to one of the mountain laurels this morning, and it's in full bloom and gorgeous. They bloom at a good time in the spring when everything has gone green and the big flush of the azaleas has passed until another year. They provide a dependable spot of color that is much-appreciated. The only problem with our mountain laurels is that they are located way out in the wilds so that one has to schedule a special trip to see them. It would be nice if they were a little closer to the house.
Yes, I have them as foundation plants. Planting technique is important as bagsmom says. Plant them a bit high, good mulch to keep the roots cool and regular water while they are getting established.
They are blooming now for me. All are rescues except for an 'Elf' that I bought some years ago.
And to my way of thinking, mountain laurel is a much more graceful plant than the native or hybrid rhododendrons, which seem a little rotund, or heavy-set, in both form and flower. Mountain laurel blossoms also have a curious, amusing way of catapulting pollen when bees fly in to visit them.
I love them!!!!!
I have a fairly steep hill that we've grown pine trees on. Now that the pines have grown to a good height and most of the hill is in dappled shade, I am going to try some mountain laurel. I fell in love with it on a trip to Biltmore. And when I used to drive on Buford Dam Road to work. There is a bunch right around the dam and the parks there.