Sheep laurel | Kalmia angustifolia
These plants, members of the Ericaceous family (Ericaceae) are native to the damp forests and marshlands of North America. The small evergreen shrubs grow 100 cm (39 in) high and spread almost as much. Their Latin name (angustifolia) refers to their narrow, lanceolate, leathery, blue-green leaves. The rosy-red, bell-shapedare borne in summer in dense clusters. The ‘Rubra’ form has bluish pink flowers. They prefer partial shade but will also grow in the sun if the is sufficiently moist. The soil should have a medium level of acidity and must always be kept moist.
In spring the soil should be mulched or a slow-release fertilizer should be applied. Dead branches should be removed regularly and if necessary the shrub can be cut back drastically. It is propagated from softwood cuttings in summer and ripe wood cuttings in winter. It can also be raised from seed in spring. If swallowed, all parts of the plants will cause nausea.