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Mountain Laurel Flowers & Festivals 2017

Updated on March 14, 2017

Why do people love mountain laurel?

Perhaps it's the pretty bell-shaped flowers, ranging in color from white to pink, that make mountain laurel a beloved plant.

Or maybe it's laurel's ubiquitous nature that inspires so much widespread devotion.

In some parts of the world, it's difficult to look out of a window in spring without seeing Kalmia latifolia elegantly brightening the landscape. After a grim, gray winter, who isn't grateful to see so much beauty so easily, almost carelessly, displayed?

Mountain Laurel, from Bud to Bloom

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Mountain laurel's hardy constitution and its generosity are other good reasons to praise it. It thrives in diverse environments, from woodlands to swamps, and provides a habitat for songbirds and small mammals.

Mountain laurel is also evergreen, adding welcome color to winter forests with its arched limbs that dangle green leaves shaped like donkey ears.

Is it any wonder that people celebrate mountain laurel each year?

The Year's First Mountain Laurel Festival Is in Georgia.

A markerSam Pitts Creek, Clarksville, Georgia -
Sam Pitts Creek, Clarkesville, GA 30523, USA
get directions

The first mountain laurel festival of the year takes place in Clarksville, Georgia.

Mountain Laurel Festivals 2017

Mountain Laurel Carnival & Festival
Clarksville, GA
May 20
musical entertainment, carnival, fireworks, antique auto show, parade
Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival
Pineville, KY
May 25-27
musical entertainment, crafts, parade, 5K walk/run, golf tournament, carnival, festival queen competition
Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival
Wellsboro, PA
June 10-18
pageant, bicycle race, foot race, gospel sing, musical entertainment, arts & crafts, parade, pet parade
Laurel Festival
Winsted, CT
June 10-11
parade, pageant, ball, vendors, plant sale
Western Pennsylvania Laurel Festival
Brookville, PA
June 21-25
pageant, carnival, parade, craft and sidewalk sale, food court, battle of the bands, karaoke

Will you attend a flower festival this year?

See results

Mountain Laurel Plant Profile

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) grows wild in the woods, meadows, slopes, ridges and swamps of the eastern United States.

It's native to many states, including Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Virginia, Washington, DC and West Virginia.

It's also the state flower of both Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

In places where mountain laurel is not native, it can easily be grown as a foundation plant, just like azaleas and rhododendrons, which are part of its plant family, Ericaceae.

Blueberries, huckleberries and cranberries are also members of the Ericaceae family.

Depending upon its location, mountain laurel can grow from a foot in height up to 20 feet.

It flowers from May through July, producing capsule-shaped brown fruit.

Because it's an evergreen, mountain laurel's leaves don't change color in autumn, remaining an attractive medium green year round.

Growing Requirements

Mountain laurel is extremely hardy and versatile. It can thrive in shade, partial shade and full sun. It grows well in dry, moist and wet soils of all types--organic matter filled with decaying bark and leaves; finely textured, silty clay; sandy, coarsely textured soil; and loamy soil comprised of silt and sand and clay.

It's only absolute requirement? Like blueberries and other members of the Ericaceae family, mountain laurel likes acidic soil, preferring a pH of 4.5 to 6.

High Deer Resistance

Some plants that are touted as deer resistant are eaten by them anyway when other food is scarce.

Mountain laurel, however, truly is deer resistant: its leaves are poisonous to all hooved creatures, including deer, horses, mules and goats. Deer will avoid it--even when they're hungry.


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    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

      Dirt farmer, I have never seen this flower nor heard about it. It is nice to know it can grow anywhere from shade to sun.. I would go to local nursery to see if it is available.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Hey there, Dolores! Good luck with your woodland garden. How gorgeous that will be (and low maintenance). We planted a native plant landscaping island & although we didn't add enough evergreen plants (something we intend to correct this spring and fall) we're really happy w/the results. Take it easy! Jill

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love mountain laurel and have just planted a small one in my back yard, in the mini woodland garden. Your pictures are so pretty! Thanks for the tips!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      Hi Ms. Dora. It's great to hear from you. Glad you enjoyed the hub. Take care, Jill

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great! Both in information and pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      @ Movie Master--They really are a delight to see. Thanks for stopping by, Lesley! Glad you like the photos. (: --Jill

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Jill, I didn't realise the laurel flower was so dainty and pretty.

      I enjoyed reading and your wonderful photos, thank you and voted up.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      Hey Esmeowl12! We've started adding more and more native plants to our yard. It seemed odd at first, but it sure makes life easier because they're so low maintenance. Glad you stopped by from the beautiful Smoky Mountains!

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      What a great hub! I just love Mountain Laurel. It is now beginning to bloom here in the Great Smoky Mountains and thousands of people visit here each year at this time just to see it. I never really thought of growing some myself. Hmmmm. Will think on that.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      @ Mary 615--But you've got all those gorgeous tropical plants down there! Still, I know what you mean. Thanks for stopping by. --Jill

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I'd really like to see this plant again. I love living in S. Fl. but I miss some of these beauties! Great photos. Voted UP.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      Hi TravelAbout! I never really noticed mountain laurel when I lived in WV. (Maybe I was distracted by all the other showy natives like redbud, white dogwood, sumac and rhodo.) But here in MD, it's all over the woods around our house. Hope you enjoy your laurel! Glad you stopped by. --Jill

    • TravelAbout profile image

      Katheryn 5 years ago from United States

      Beautiful. Oddly enough, I live in Delaware and have never seen it? Now I will have to go out and buy one to plant! Nice photos. Voted up!