Mountain Laurel Isn’t Blooming

Mountain Laurel blooms any time from the end of April to the end of May, depending on variety and what hardiness zones it grows in. The most common reason that Mountain Laurel does bloom well or fails to bloom altogether is that it was pruned at the wrong time. Very rarely is a lack of fertilizer the cause for poor blooming. Mountain Laurel also needs a little bit of sun to bloom well. Planting this shrub in complete shade will hamper bud development.


Common Reasons Why Mountain Laurel Isn’t Blooming

Pruning at the wrong time of the year will result in removal of the young, developing flower buds. Mountain Laurel blooms on growth from the previous year, which means the right time to prune is directly after the flowers have finished in the early summer. Too much shade is also a flower inhibitor. Ideally a spot in dappled sun or full sun early in the morning will help to produce the most flower buds. Lastly, Mountain Laurel is a much stronger bloomer as it ages. 

Pruning Mountain Laurel to Help It Bloom

A light deadheading after the flowers have faded will not only tidy up the shrub for the rest of the year, but will help make way for the developing flower buds of next year. Carefully prune the tips of the branches, avoiding any developing flower buds. Deer and rabbits almost never browse Mountain Laurel. The leaves make glycosides that are similar to turpentine and burn the animal's mouth with as little as one bite. The surrounding plants may be nibbled back hard though, making more room for the Mountain Laurel to grow.

Fertilizing Mountain Laurel to Help It Bloom

Fertilizing rarely helps Mountain Laurel bloom better. Mountain laurel is part of the ericaceae family of plants that grow best in soil that is below pH of 6.0. Adding supplemental fertilizers only encourages heavy foliar growth or deep green of the evergreen leaves. Many times this extra foliar growth is weak and extremely appealing to sapsuckers like aphids. Using a biodegradable mulch such as pine straw, leaves or organic compost is the best way to provide nutrition to the plant and the soil.


Get Mountain Laurel to Produce More Blooms

Mountain Laurel only blooms once a year. Proper pruning at the correct time and planting in a spot that gets at least dappled sunlight will help the blooming to be as heavy as possible in the late spring and early summer.

Why Mountain Laurel Isn’t Blooming

  • Pruning at the wrong time of the year
  • Mountain Laurel only blooms once a year
  • Blooms on previous year’s growth
  • Extra fertilizing will only encourage excess foliage growth
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 Author Robbin Small - Published 6-29-2022