mountain laurel (kalmia latifolia)

kypawpaw(ky.)December 14, 2003

I have a shrub in my backyard and have determined it is mountain laurel. Does anyone know how to propogate this plant? I like everything about it and am in the dark as to how to create more. Thanks

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)


I too am interested in propagating mt laurel so I recently did a search and found this.

"Germinate seeds under mist or a plastic tent. Seeds should receive light during incubation. Cuttings from most wild plants are nearly impossible to grow. Serious growers should refer to Dr. Richard A. Jayne's Kalmia: The Laurel Book, Timber Press. Kalmia in now being commercially produced by tissue culture."

I haven't been able to find much on the web about propagation but everything I've read suggest they are not an easy plant to propagate. Air layering may be the best means of propagation but I'm not sure.

Maybe someone here will know more and in the meantime I'll post a similiar message on the plant propagation forum.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2003 at 9:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The beautiful mountain laurel can be difficult to propagate. Refer to Richard Jaynes book for more specifics based on his experience. Seeds are tiny and seedling are slow at first. As mentioned above, most plants are difficult from cuttings but it might be worth a try, once again refer to Jaynes' book, generally cuttings are wounded on one side.
The "new" varieties created by Jaynes and other are mass produced through tissue culture.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2003 at 9:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)


In the article, which I pasted in part above, the author says;

"Cuttings from most wild plants are nearly impossible to grow."

I have a mountain laurel that was nursery grown, so would mine be easier to propagate by cuttings than one in the wild?

Pardon my ignorance~

Btw, Amazon sells Dr. Jayne's book on laurel for around $25.00. Not in my budget just now. Maybe I can find one at Border's and sneak a peek.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2003 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do the Borders thing with a lot of books!!(although I do own a copy of Jaynes laurel book). I think there is just a lot of variability among the different clones (and wild plants) as far as rooting ability.
Another option is to call Jaynes directly, at Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden Connecticut, perhaps he or one of his staff can give you help in the right direction!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2003 at 8:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)


Thank you I might just do that. As you have said, it may well be worth a try to attempt rooting mine.

It is nice to look over books over a cup of cappuccino in Border's. Now if only they had a copy machine;)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2003 at 10:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
beng(z6 western MD)

Although it has to be done w/consideration, Mountain laurel can be transplanted fairly easily in mid-spring. I took plants out of a dense understory grove that you couldn't tell anything was removed, and planted on both sides of a shaded step-way. All survived, but recover slowly. They need soil fungi, leaf-litter & acidic humus, so don't succeed well in "lawns".

    Bookmark   December 18, 2003 at 8:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
well_drained(z6a MA)

Both Dirr and Cullina have helpful tips and both say that K. latifolia is tough to propagate. Both reference Jaynes.

Re: Peggy and Woodnative's comments:

Did anyone see the New Yorker cartoon a few years back of a big display table in a Borders-type bookstore with a sign: "Coffee-stained books"?

Slightly off-topic, with apologies to thread,

-- wd

    Bookmark   January 5, 2004 at 8:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
WTG_(8 TX)

Ah, the Texas Mountain Laurel. My favorite plant in the world, so far. I have propogated by seed and by cuttings with growth hormone. Seeds are the easiest. Though they must be scarified. I have seen the TML along the highways in Vegas, at the family ranch in South Texas and just about everywhere here in the Texas Hill country. I will be propogating numerous TML by seed within the next few weeks for experimental purposes.
Jill Nokes has a book, "How to grow Native Texas Plants"
that helps with the propogation of not only the TML, but numerous additional natives as well.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
- Bill

    Bookmark   February 14, 2004 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

the texas mountain laurel is a different plant than the one being discussed in this post. i have heard that it is easy to grow from seed unlike kalmia latifolia, which has seed the size of a grain of sand and that is very slow growing and delicate.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2004 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I recently got Dr. Jaynes' book, and he says that there is a big variability in the rooting ease or difficulty in rooting k. latifolia from one particular plant to another. I am in the southwestern-most part of its natural range, and it only grows on the bluffs along local creeks. The soil there is VERY sandy and gritty, with about a foot or more of leaves from the beech and oak trees that grow there.
I plan to take some cuttings from them after they bloom - I've tried before and failed, but I've improved my technique lately, so I think I'll try again. I have 5 1/2 wooded acres, so I've got the right amount of shade, but I don't have the gritty soil. If I succeed in rooting some, I'll just have to try to figure out how to give it soil like the type they like - maybe I'll ask permission to dig up some of the soil in the area where they grow and create some type of super well-drained mound to plant it in.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2004 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
teresa_va(Northern Va)

Mountain laurels of North Carolina. If you have branches that are low enough to the ground you can lay them down in the dirt cover them thickly with more dirt and usually they will root them selves. Ihope this makes sence. Then just cut the branch and transplant.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2004 at 8:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've germinated these guys from seed but never had luck raising them to flowering size. The seedlings are REALLY tiny and susceptible to rots, overwatering, underwatering, you name it. Still, it was fun to try and people definitely are successful with this species. Go for it!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2004 at 7:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joy4me(z6 NY)


Here in NY you can also ground layer. Though, sometimes you may be able to take a clipping *AND* take some soil from the area where the mother plant is to start the cutting. Often, it seems to me, folks start a cutting in soil completely differt from where the plant has lived. Starting in the same soil, then acclimating slowly to the area and soil you wish it to grow by duplicating as close as possible the soil in which it originally grew. eg. woodland type acidic soil with a lot of leafmold. If it's growing under a evergreen grove, it may prefer pineneeles as the main acidic material. Some are more adaptable than others. But if you're having a problem, it's worth a try.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2004 at 8:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does anyone know where to purchase white flowering Mountain Laurel, specifically kalmia latifolia 'alba'?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2004 at 9:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i've never seen that one for sale. most garden centers that carry mountain laurel offer the cultivar 'snowdrift', which has pure white flowers.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for the name of a white flowering cultivar! Someone mentioned to me recently that Frank's Nursery and Crafts offers them and that they sell out fast.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 12:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pastahl(z6a NC)

Looking for some advice...
I have a large mountain laurel on my property. It is a beautiful specimen, but appears to be struggling (lacking leaves) and competing with the larger rhodos around it. Could this be due to rhodos blocking out sunlight? It is a wooded area so it is in an understory location. I am considering pruning some of the rhodos so it can get a little more sun, and so I can SEE it! Is this what I should do? I also have a couple native flame azaleas that could be having the same problem. What can I do to get these to flourish?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Brian_Pavier(South Africa)

Kalmias grow very well in this area and we propagate by cutting with about 10 per cent success rate.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2004 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Helpful thread!

I just bought a nursery-grown mountain laurel. As I was spreading out the root ball, the plant broke in half (sob)!
Was able to plant the main stem, and with luck it will recover, but wonder if there's any point in trying to save the broken stem. If I did, would it be best to root it near the main plant?

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2004 at 6:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seagreen_turtle(Z5 MI)


I carefully read this useful thread after I had the same thing happen as pgtips back in 2004 (the last message in the thread - 3 years ago!). Well, not exactly the same thing because in my case, my mountain laurel was planted for a couple of months and just today I found a large broken off piece sitting beside it. What caused it I don't know. I would think a critter but dunno for sure. The interesting thing is that the broken off end of the stem on the separate piece looks "healed over" yet the branch and leaves look to be in perfect health so far?! I made a fresh cut at on the branch and stuck in water inside but it looks like it will be a real longshot from what I've read in this thread. It's starting to get colder here already so I can't just stick it in the ground.

Any advice? It sure is a large branch (about 1/3 the size of the whole plant) and I sure hate to just throw it away.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 6:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Iam New to this site so hi to everyone.
My question is I have 3 laurel's and this summer was so dry that one of them is all brown I think its dead but does anyone know if it will sucker out from roots if I cut it all the way back. (any help )

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 3:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

No, it won't sucker from the roots. If it is still alive and you want to renovate it it's best to do it slowly over a few years as these are very slow growing. Any hard pruning will cause it not to flower for a few years.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 10:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Plantfreak how did you get the seed to sprout?I have some seed in an envelope and wasn't sure the tiny dots were seed or chaffe from the dried pods.How did you keep the soil moist but without all the stuff that causes damping off?Did you give the seeds some time in the cold before sowing them?Anyone else who has anything to add, please do.Poaky1

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 10:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

poaky- the seeds are tiny!! Are your seeds fresh?
I have germinated the seeds under fluorescent lights, using a soil wiht a lot of peat/sand and a small terrarium or pot inside a ziploc bag. Sprinkle the seeds on the surface..........they start out slow!! As they grow you can separate them into small pots or space them in a larger pot, until early fall when I plant them out in the garden in a moist (but not wet!), semi-shady spot.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 7:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Plantfreak, or anyone else who has an answer. What do the seed or baby leaves of Kalmia latifolia look like? If you can't post a photo, just try to describe them. Do they look anything like the adult leaves? I sowed some in pots and some outside in shade. We've been having so much rain, that if they're going to germinate, they should definitely do so. I am afraid to weed in the area I sowed seeds outside. Thanks for any help.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 8:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here are a couple that I have. Sowing the seeds into moss would help - even if that means lining a flat or container with moss first. These were dug out already growing in moss and then the layer of moss (with dirt) was put into a container with a top (it was a clam-shell plastic container from take-out). The first one seems younger than the second one. Both of them have a dime nearby for reference. Not the best picture on the first one, but I think you can still see what the first set of leaves would look like:

Hope that helps. Those white stringy things in the second picture are dog hairs!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 11:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The shape looks right but I only noticed 2 roundish leaves on mine. I sprayed Neptune's harvest kelp on the seeds/ soil just before they sprouted. Maybe that helped germination or was a coincidence. There should be no other seeds in the pot, so I will assume it's K.L. until it proves otherwise. The leaves are about as big as a piece of perlite and I thought it was but looked closer and recognized it's green, not white, and are tiny leaves. How do I care for the babies next winter? Do I overwinter the pot outside, the pot is a quart nursery plastic pot only half full of potting soil. I have seeds other places also, but this pot should have no other seeds but K.L. Thanks for the baby pics.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 12:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bought what was supposed to be mountain laurel seed back in Sept. I planted them and they started to grow pretty quick. As I do with all plants, I began to research these plants to see what the seedlings would look like and was surprised to find my seed wasnt ML after all. Could someone be so kind as to help me ID this "thing" I have been know it isnt ML according to Esh's pic. Ive searched every weed site I know and every plant site I could and havent been able to ID this. Thanks!
Sorry, just signed up minutes ago so I have yet to navigate the site to know how to post pics in posts. The link will take you to my photobucket for a pic of this "thing" in question

Here is a link that might be useful: unknown plant/weed

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 3:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 3:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh well, didnt work. So anyway, hope someone knows what this is. I emailed the lady I bought the seeds from but havent heard back from her yet. The seeds were so tiny I could hardly see them. I just had to sprinkle them on top of the soiless mix and didnt bother them until I seen sprouts, then I transfered them to the pots theyre in now.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 3:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Try posting it on the "Name That Plant" forum. The link below has a good tutorial on picture posting.


Here is a link that might be useful: Post a pic

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 4:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hurricane Sandy hit us last night. I came out this morning to find that the main stem of my Kalmia Latifolia had snapped right off and the plant was up the street. I just planted the darn thing it last week too. Is there anything I can do to save it? Or is this pretty much money down the drain?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 12:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They are tough plants. If you have a root ball, you can probably plant it and have success. When houses are built in the mts. here, rhodes and kalmias are routinely dug up, with the root balls, left standing the many months it takes to build the house, and then replanted, with good results.

Mother Nature delt a terrible blow to your area. Good wishes to all who were affected.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glad to hear they're tough. I'm amazed that the plant is still green and looking lively after all that happened to it. The main stem snapped off of the root ball entirely, but the part of the stem that broke does still have a very tiny root attached. I nestled the broken stem back into the disconnected root ball hoping it will reattach. I treated it with a rooting hormone and a fulvic/humic acid mix in hopes it will gain some steady footing before the frost comes. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 12:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a question, i have on established plant in my garden, at the end of the season all the leaves got leaf spot and now are covered totally in brown spots.
What should i do with it? SHould i pick all the leaves? should i leave it be?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 12:24PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need to correct landscaping around mature oak trees
We recently bought a home in west suburban Chicagoland...
John Witte
Re-establishing natives in Woodland restoration project
I've spent the last 6 months removing buckthorn in...
redbud tree not blooming
I have a redbud tree that I planted as one small twig....
seeds for woodlands
what kind of seed can i just throw out in woods that...
anyone have a fairy glen fern?
or know of a place to get one?
bragu_DSM 5
Sponsored Products
Frankford Umbrellas Market Wood 9 ft Octagon Pulley Lift Linen Umbrella
$279.48 | LuxeDecor
Holiday Garland Serving Platter
Ballard Designs
Mountain Tops Gallery-Wrapped Canvas
$74.99 | zulily
Deer Antler Ornament in Silver
$15.99 | Dot & Bo
3-Light Wall / Bath Estate Bronze
Long-Range Observation Binocular
Kichler Laurel Modern Contempo Chandelier
Mountain River Gem Cabinet Knob
Signature Hardware
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™