Plant DetailShow Menu

Kalmia buxifolia

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Leiophyllum buxifolium
Phonetic Spelling
KAL-mee-uh buks-ih-FOH-lee-uh
Description

Sand myrtle is a woody low growing evergreen shrub or groundcover in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family native to portions of southeastern US. This slower grower has dense foliage and variable form in wild reaching a heigh of 18 inches to 3 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide.

Plant in partial shade in moist well drained acidic soil enriched with organic matter.  Apply a layer of acidic mulch like pine needles in the spring to retain soil moisture.  Prune only after flowering to remove spent blooms.  This plant can be propagated through seed, stem or root cutting.

The leaves are thick and glossy and provide a beautiful green background for the rosy pink buds that erupt in a profusion of white flowers from early spring to early summer.  Nectar from the flowers attract pollinators like butterflies and bees.  The evergreen leaves turn a attracive bronze tone in the winter which helps provide year-round interest for this plant.  Sand myrtle does not tolerate drought or overly wet soils.

Use this low maintenance plant in the front of borders, alongside patios, or as an understory planting along with some larger shrubs.    Mass plant it as welcome addition to a native or pollinator garden and does well in containers.  Its slow growth rate makes it ideal as a low growing hedge in a cottage garen and its small size makes it a natural choice for courtyard, or rock gardens.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pinecake'
'Pinecake'
Tags:
#evergreen#small spaces#white flowers#pink flowers#slow growing#native shrub#low maintenance#winter interest#mass planting#year-round interest#small mammals#NC native#glossy leaves#native garden#rock garden#native groundcover#pollinator plant#courtyard garden#leathery leaves#border front#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#understory shrub#FACU Piedmont Mountains#Coastal FACU#Audubon#woodland garden#container plant#wet soils intolerant#dense growth#patio
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pinecake'
'Pinecake'
Tags:
#evergreen#small spaces#white flowers#pink flowers#slow growing#native shrub#low maintenance#winter interest#mass planting#year-round interest#small mammals#NC native#glossy leaves#native garden#rock garden#native groundcover#pollinator plant#courtyard garden#leathery leaves#border front#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#understory shrub#FACU Piedmont Mountains#Coastal FACU#Audubon#woodland garden#container plant#wet soils intolerant#dense growth#patio
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Kalmia
    Species:
    buxifolia
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern U.S.A
    Wildlife Value:
    A food source for butterflies, birds, pollinators, and small mammals.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat and drought tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Prostrate
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Displays from September to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Raceme
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Rosy buds open to white flowers with 5 petals and prominate stamens. Inflorescence is a terminal corymbiform raceme or umbel. Blooms from March to June
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Dense tiny glossy green ovate leaves, variable alternate or opposite. In the fall the leaves turn bronze.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds