Winter Care of Mountain Laurel

When grown in the proper hardiness zones, few extra measures need to be taken to help Mountain Laurel to survive the winter successfully. Mountain Laurel is one of the more hardy broadleaf evergreens that can withstand quite cold and snowy winters in the north of the United States. The only problem that Mountain Laurel may have in the winter is poor drainage or a growing position that has too much sun seasonally in the winter.


Protecting Mountain Laurel in the Winter

A layer of mulch such as leaves or wood chips will help to insulate the soil and roots from the cold. Make sure that Mountain Laurel is planted in the shade provided by other evergreens. If planted under a canopy of deciduous trees, the winter sun will be too strong and bleach or burn the leaves. If moving the Mountain Laurel to a shadier position is not possible, a screen constructed with burlap or shade cloth can be used to shield the leaves. Spraying an anti-dessicant on broadleaf evergreens was a common practice in the past. Using products like Wilt Pruf or Wilt Stop must be applied at just the right time in order to be of benefit. If applied too early, the waxy coating on the leaves will interrupt the dormancy process. Oftentimes the formulations don’t last all winter so they may need another application later. Planting evergreens in the proper location and providing protection from harsh winter winds is the better option.


Cutting Back Mountain Laurel for Winter

No extra pruning is needed for the winter. Mountain Laurel stays evergreen and provides interest when most other plants have died back. 

Mountain Laurel Winter Care in Pots

More insulation may be required for container-grown Mountain Laurel. Wrapping the pot in a few layers of burlap works very well if the container cannot be moved to a more sheltered position for the winter. No need to place Mountain Laurel in an unheated greenhouse or the house for the winter. This shrub needs a period of cold weather to spur proper blooming. Pay attention to moisture levels if the container is in a spot that will not be rained on. The soil needs to be at a consistently moist level, without being water logged.

Watering Mountain Laurel in Winter

Generally, no extra watering is needed through the winter for garden-grown Mountain Laurel. Supplemental summer watering does need to be tapered off in September so that the shrub can prepare for dormancy and harden off.

Growing Mountain Laurel Indoors

Mountain Laurel needs a period of cold weather for dormancy, and they should not be grown indoors.

Steps to Care for Mountain Laurel in Winter

Mountain Laurel is low maintenance year round. During winter, it will provide interest in the garden even while entering dormancy.

Step 1 - Make sure plant is sheltered from excess wind or sun during the winter months

Step 2 - Monitor moisture in potted Mountain Laurel.

Step 3 - Mountain Laurel planted in the ground does not need extra irrigation

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 Author Robbin Small - Published 6-29-2022