Kalmia latifolia ‘Sarah’

Plant name: Kalmia latifolia ‘Sarah’

Virtues: Kalmia, like rhododendrons, make great cut flowers.

Flower color: Rich pink fading to medium pink.

Foliage: Dense and dark green.

Goes great with: ‘Sarah’ is stunning when planted with the light pink or white native laurels, and is a valuable plant to mix in with rhododendrons because it flowers later in the season.

Habit: The growth habit is rounded–after 20 years the original plant was 6 feet high and 7 feet wide.

Season: Year-round. It flowers at the same time as the native mountain laurel, early June in southern New England.

Suggested by: Dick Jaynes of Broken Arrow Nursery (www.brokenarrownursery.com).

Where does it come from: It was selected from a controlled cross Dick Jaynes made in 1976 between a rich pink flowered plant and ‘Pink Charm’. ‘Sarah’ is the seed parent of ‘Kaleidoscope’, and was named for his wife.

Tips: As with other mountain laurel, it will do best if it is planted in bright light, with several hours or more of sun. Plant in an acid, well-drained soil and mulch with organic matter such as wood chips or pine bark. Light pruning can be done anytime of the year. Go to brokenarrownursery.com for more information-also a source for the book, "Kalmia, Mountain Laurel and Related Species" by Dick Jaynes (Timber Press, TK). Zones 5 to 8.

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