Mountain Laurel Irrigation: How To Water A Mountain Laurel Shrub

Watering a Mountain Laurel Shrub
mountain laurel
(Image credit: Denise Dolan)

A sometimes overlooked North American native (and the state flower of Pennsylvania), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is a very hardy, shade tolerant shrub that produces beautiful, showy flowers where many other plants will not. While mountain laurel is tough and mostly self-sufficient, there are some basic guidelines to follow to make sure it lives its best life and produces as many flowers as possible. One obvious element to think about is irrigation. Keep reading to learn more about mountain laurel water needs and how to water a mountain laurel shrub.

Mountain Laurel Irrigation

The time mountain laurel water needs are the greatest is immediately after the shrub has been transplanted. Mountain laurel should be planted in the autumn when temperatures have just started to drop. You should water the shrub well after you’ve planted it, and then continue to water it regularly and deeply until first frost. Take care not to go overboard and waterlog the soil. Only water enough to give it a good drenching, then let the water drain away. Make sure to plant your mountain laurel in well-draining soil to avoid problems that stem from standing water.

How to Water a Mountain Laurel Shrub

After the first frost, leave it alone. In the spring, when temperatures start to rise again, it’s time to begin watering regularly. It’s helpful to put out a layer of mulch around the shrub to help retain moisture over the roots. Once it is established, a mountain laurel shouldn’t need too much watering. It should be able to get by on natural rainfall, though it will benefit from some supplemental watering during periods of heat and drought. Even established plants should be watered generously in the fall leading up to the first frost. This will help the plant stay healthy through the winter.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.