Mountain Laurel Planting Mistakes to Avoid

white mountain laurel in bloom

The mountain laurel is a lovely evergreen shrub that blooms in several shades of purple, pink, red, and even white. There are several different ways to plant a mountain laurel. Overall these shrubs are very easy going and simple to care for, although there are a few planting errors you will want to avoid.

Planting Location: Sun and Soil

Planting your mountain laurels directly in the sun will easily kill them. You also don’t want to plant them completely in the shade. Mountain laurel shrubs prefer to have more shade than sun but not one instead of the other.

Planting your mountain laurel in a location where you have not checked the soil is not going to be beneficial to your plant. Soil that does not drain well along with dry conditions will not allow your plant to flourish properly. If your soil doesn’t drain well, add sand, peat moss, and humus. Keep your soil moist by spraying it in between waterings. Your soil should also be acidic. An alkaline soil will not go well with your mountain laurel.


rake on wood chips

Don’t forget to mulch your mountain laurel. Not only will mulching help retain the moisture that your mountain laurel requires, it will also keep your soil nice and cool. Take care when choosing your mulch as well. Like the soil, your mulch should be acidic. Be careful if you choose an organic fertilizer as some of them are more alkaline than acidic. Some good acidic mulch to use for your mountain laurel is pine needles, azalea, and wood chips. Your layer of mulch should be no more than six inches deep.


Do not attempt to propagate a mountain laurel from the wild. The best way to properly propagate a mountain laurel is to choose one from a local nursery. A burlap and balled bag plant purchased directly from a nursery is going to give you the greatest chance of success with your mountain laurel.

Planting and Care

Planting your mountain laurel too deep in the soil will cause it to rot and eventually die. The ideal depth for your mountain laurel is the point where the trunk and roots meet up.

If you are planting a mountain laurel from seeds, be sure to do it right at the end of the spring. Wait until the pods are beginning to turn a grayish pink color. If you plant your seeds before they turn this color, you will probably cause a good deal of scarification on your mountain laurel shrub.

When fertilizing your mountain laurel shrub, be sure that you do not do it after June. When you fertilize your plant, you are encouraging it to sprout new growth. If you do this after June, your mountain laurel will bloom during the wintertime and will likely die.