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Elf Mountain Laurel

Kalmia latifolia 'Elf'

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Elf Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia 'Elf') at Gardener's Supply Company

Elf Mountain Laurel flowers

Elf Mountain Laurel flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Elf Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia 'Elf') at Gardener's Supply Company

Elf Mountain Laurel in bloom

Elf Mountain Laurel in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  6 feet

Spread:  7 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  5


A compact spring blooming broadleaf evergreen shrub with amazing frilled white flowers and colorful emergent foliage; must have exacting growing conditions; superbly drained highly acidic and organic soil with a heavy mulch

Ornamental Features

Elf Mountain Laurel features showy clusters of white cup-shaped flowers with pink spots at the ends of the branches from mid to late spring, which emerge from distinctive shell pink flower buds. It has attractive dark green foliage which emerges deep purple in spring. The glossy pointy leaves are highly ornamental and remain dark green throughout the winter. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Elf Mountain Laurel is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Elf Mountain Laurel is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Elf Mountain Laurel will grow to be about 6 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 7 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Massing  Garden 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features