Be sure to use a well drained soil medium when planting any Mountain Laurel as they prefer fall planting with less watering than you might think. In NC our soil is clay so we prefer to use pine bark soil conditioner when planting Camellia, Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, and Azalea.
Sarah Mountain Laurel
Kalmia latifolia 'Sarah'
If you like mountain laurels but want a color bolder than the white and pink flowers found in the native varieties, consider the ‘Sarah’ mountain laurel—one of the best red cultivars available, which also displays better sun tolerance than other mountain laurels. ‘Sarah’ is slow-growing with an upright habit and a stronger root system than most laurels, and reaches 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide in ten years. Bright cherry-red buds begin forming in large clusters at the ends of all the branches in the winter, providing a welcome splash of color during the quiet winter months. In late spring, red buds open to reveal pink cup-shaped flowers with red hues. Dead-heading the flowers when faded will encourage flowering the following year. Evergreen. Plant in part shade in cool, moist, acidic, compost-rich, well-drained soil. Water well when blooming and avoid excessive pruning. Does not like clay soils. Looks lovely in a woodland garden or other naturalized setting.