Kalmia flowers are the most impressive flowers of the coastal gardens. It is also known as mountain laurel, in bright white or pink cup-shaped blossoms growing in clusters. They bloom in swamps, meadows and woods. It is found across the world and in Germany and Poland as per fossil records. But they are not limited to Cuba and North America. Most of the varieties are limited to Canada and the Eastern coast of the United States. Until the 1800s, it didn’t spread to Europe and the rest of the world as an ornamental plant. It can grow 6 to 10 feet tall as a rounded shrub, dense, opening up and developing knotty branches with age.
Kalmia flower meaning and belongs to the Ericaceae family, which includes cranberry, blueberry, yew and heath. Even though the kalmia flower meaning is ornamental, is both highly toxic and edible. Kalma flower meaning is not a single plant. It is a genus. There are around 7 plants within the genus. Due to reorganisation, some are subtracted or added each year. Kalmia procumbens is a variety grown at the highest elevations in its native habitat.
Kalmia flowers are also known as Kalmia latifolia. Its scientific name originated from the name “Pehr Kalm”. Pehr Kalm is a Swedish Botanist who explored plant life in eastern parts of North America. It is more similar to bay laurels, which are natives of Mediterranean. Kalmia flowers are known as spoonwood as their wood is toxic. It is also called calico bush due to patterned and speckled flowers.
Kalmia blooms in late spring to early summer. Its fruits and buds are showy. The foliage is attractive and makes a good choice for year-round interest. Kalmia flowers have sensitive anthers contained in the pockets of the corolla. It triggers the release of pollen. There are some cultivars, like dwarf varieties and heat tolerant. It can be used as an flowering shrub in a garden, meadow or naturalized or woodland area.
What Do Kalmia Flower Symbolize?
Kalmia flower meaning and symbolizes perseverance due to its growth in tough habitats. It has crooked trunks and a habit of growing closely together. It grows in inaccessible, rocky, steep and high elevation areas. It is a boundless way to show a person that you are gratified of them for succeeding in spite of tough situations. They are also termed as a sign of treachery. These flowers have powerful symbolic value and a rich history.
What Do Various Colors of the Kalmia Flower Mean?
Most of the Kalmia flowers bloom in white or red, which gives additional meaning when it is utilized for flower arrangement. Kalmia flowers are speckled and patterned, giving them many meanings based on the color combinations.
White – White represents purity, recovery and healing.
Pink – Pink represents youth, affection, warmth and early stages of love.
Red – Red represents romance, wealth, love and good health.
Burgundy –Burgundy represents elegance, devoted romance, luxury and wisdom.
Interesting Facts and Characteristics of Kalmia Flower
Kalmia flower meaning and is also known as mountain laurel. It is the state flower of Pennsylvania and Connecticut. But, it is not a true laurel. It is similar to the true bay laurel due to its long and narrow leaves. Kalmia flowers grow in densely packed clusters called corymb. It creates a round snow-ball like shape with 10 to 60 flowers packed in a cluster. These clusters are formed at the end of the branches. Most variations feature long, dark foliage which contrasts the blooms. Kalmia flower meaning and does not have a particular fragrance.
The buds of Kalmia flowers are pleated like fancy bonbons and can be deep rose to red, shell pink, pale magenta or even white.
Kalmia flowers bloom from April to June. They stay on flower for one to two months and start losing slowly. They won’t bloom again later unless they are moved to greenhouse environment. Kalmia requires moist and acidic soil, with lots of humus. If the soil is moist, they can grow in full sun. But part shade is preferable. The plant does not grow well in wet soils or heavy clay soils. To promote bushy growth, spent flower clusters should be removed immediately after blooming. Air circulation is also significant, as the bushes are cramped against the surfaces.
Kalmia flowers are slow growing. So, pruning should be done immediately once the flowers are faded. It is also a great idea to cut the spent blooms with the help of pruning scissors. The stamens are arched so that when a pollinator explores the bloom, it is literally coated by pollen.
All parts of the plant are toxic, including the nectar from flowers and wood. The honey made from these flowers should not be consumed. The wood can be used for decorative purposes by carving it. It is a good pollinator as it attracts birds and bees.
These flowers can be dangerous for livestock. It is also known as “Lambkill” or “Sheep’s Laurel”. Settlers found that even small number of twigs or leaves would kill their sheep and young lambs due to their low body weight. Honey is also dangerous. It is due to grayanotoxin present in the entire plant. Even though it influences the symbolism of flowers, it has dark sides too.
Kalmia is dangerous to humans too. It causes stomach upset, vomiting and skin and eye irritation.
Kalmia flowers are inclined to white flies, lace bugs, scales and borers. It is also susceptible to blights and leaf spots. If the bees are heavily feed on Kalmia flowers, they produce honey that can be toxic for human consumption.
Best Time to Gift Someone Kalmia Flowers
Kalmias are popular garden plants and well-known ornamentals.
Depending on the meaning of colors of Kalmia flowers, it can be to communicate or send a message. It can help to communicate that you felt someone acted unfairly or even evasively due to the deceitful meaning given to this flower. It can be used to celebrate someone who has overcome any adversity for a positive message.
They can be a part of the floral arrangement or landscape to appreciate its dual meaning of deceit and resilience.