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Plants that fill a similar niche:
Camellia hybrida Winter Series
Ilex crenata Ilex crenata
Rhododendron indicum Rhododendron indicum
Kalmia latifolia 'Sarah' has some common insect problems:
Lace Bugs

Kalmia latifolia 'Sarah'

This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

'Sarah' is a cultivar of Mountain Laurel, a broadleaf, evergreen shrub or small tree in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family that is native to eastern North America. 'Sarah' blooms in the late spring with red flower buds that open to a rich pink to coral color with dots on the petals.  It is a slow growing, dense, rounded shrub reaching four or five feet tall in ten years and developing gnarly branches with age. As the flowers fade, lush foliage erupts into burgundy hues. 'Sarah' displays glossy green leaves that are smaller and twistier than other varieties.

'Sarah' has better sun tolerance that the parent Mountain Laurel shrub and tolerates a wide range of light conditions, from full sun to full shade. It grows best in partial shade (morning sun with early to mid-afternoon shade) and in cool, moist, acidic, humus-rich, well-drained soils. Mulch to retain moisture and keep root zones cool. The plant does not grow well in heavy clay soils or wet soils. In heavy soils, raised plantings should be considered to promote better drainage. Remove spent flower clusters immediately after bloom and prune branches back lightly after bloom to promote bushy growth. When pruning, keep in mind that next year's blossoms and fruit will appear on old growth.

'Sarah' works well in the garden as a mass planting and can be used as a short hedge, in a shrub border, woodland or cottage garden, or along a foundation.

Fire Risk: This plant has a high flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home. Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: 

Scale, white fly, borers, and lace bugs are occasional pests. Leaf spots and blights are occasional diseases.

More information on Kalmia latifolia.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#broadleaf evergreen#winter interest#cottage garden#rabbit resistant#mass planting#deer resistant#foundation planting#evergreen shrub#shrub borders#dense growth#hedge#woodland
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#broadleaf evergreen#winter interest#cottage garden#rabbit resistant#mass planting#deer resistant#foundation planting#evergreen shrub#shrub borders#dense growth#hedge#woodland
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Kalmia
    Species:
    latifol
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It provides winter cover. Hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators are attracted to the flowers. Although the foilage is toxic to domestic livestock, white-tailed deer browse the leaves and twigs during the winter and early spring.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Plant produces 5-valved, dihiscent capsules (3/16") that are non-showy and brown in color that persist into winter. Fruits are available from September to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Late spring to early summer red buds burst forth with showy pink to coral fused petaled flowers with dots on the petals.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    New leaves have a red color turning a glossy green. They twist and have undulate margins.
  • Bark:
    Bark Description:
    The bark is thin, smooth and dark red-brown in color in young trees. The barks shreds and splits as the tree ages. The trunk is contorted with cinnamon bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are sympodial and initially bronze and sticky. As they mature, they turn turn red green or brown and become crooked and gnarly. Epidermis and gray-brown bark crack to reveal lighter colors in older stems. Pith is solid and light green.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    The toxic principle interferes with normal skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and nerve function. Clinical effects typically occur within a few hours after ingestion, and can include acute digestive upset, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, frequent bowel movements/diarrhea, colic, sweating, abdominal pain, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, watering of eyes and nose, nausea, cardiac failure, vomiting, leg paralysis, weak heart rate, and recumbency for 2 or more days; at this point, improvement may be seen or the animal may become comatose and die. Typically not very palatable to horses unless it is the only forage available, but sheep and goats may graze readily on the plant.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Andromedotoxin, a resinoid; arbutin, a glycoside, Grayanotoxins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems