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Trailing Azalea

Kalmia procumbens

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ericaceae (Heath)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
25 centimetres tall
Heathland, moorland, mountains, rocky places.

Pink, 5 petals
Solitary pink bell-shaped flowers with conjoined petals. 5 dark red sepals. 5 stamens.
A globular, 4-sectioned capsule. 3 to 4mm in size.
An evergreen undershrub with numerous, dark green, tiny but thick leaves. The leaves have inrolled margins. The undersides of the leaves are white and downy. The leaves reach 8mm in length. Perennial.
Other Names:
Alpine Azalea, Creeping Azalea, Mountain Azalea, Wild Azalea.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Kalmia procumbens, also known as procumbent mountain laurel or trailing kalmia, is a perennial plant that is native to North America. It belongs to the heath family and is known for its small, pink flowers and evergreen leaves. Kalmia procumbens is a low-growing plant that is often used as a groundcover in gardens. It is easy to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and climates. Kalmia procumbens prefers partial shade to full sun and is drought-tolerant once established. The plant is generally hardy and low maintenance, but it can be prone to pests such as aphids and scale insects. Kalmia procumbens is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine the safety and effectiveness of using it medicinally.


Trailing Azalea, also known as Kalmia procumbens, is a beautiful and unique addition to any garden. Native to the southeastern United States, this evergreen shrub can be found in a variety of habitats, including rocky woods and open pine savannas.

One of the most striking features of Trailing Azalea is its vibrant pink or red flowers, which bloom in the spring and early summer. The flowers are small, but they are produced in large clusters that make a striking display. The leaves of the plant are also attractive, with a glossy, dark green color and a leathery texture.

Trailing Azalea is a low-growing shrub, typically reaching a height of only 6-12 inches. It spreads out through underground runners, making it a great choice for planting as a groundcover. This plant is also well-suited to growing in rock gardens or along the edges of wooded areas.

One of the best things about Trailing Azalea is its hardiness. It is able to tolerate a wide range of soil types and can grow in both sunny and shady areas. It is also relatively drought-tolerant once established.

When it comes to care and maintenance, Trailing Azalea is relatively low-maintenance. It prefers well-drained soil, and it should be watered regularly during its first year to help it establish a strong root system. Once established, the plant requires very little additional care.

Overall, Trailing Azalea is a beautiful and hardy plant that is well-suited to a wide range of gardening situations. Whether you're looking for a groundcover for a shady area or a colorful addition to a rock garden, Trailing Azalea is a great choice.

Trailing Azalea is also a great choice for gardeners looking to attract wildlife to their gardens. The flowers are a favorite of bees and butterflies, and the plant provides shelter and food for a variety of birds.

In addition to its ornamental value, Trailing Azalea has been used for medicinal purposes by indigenous peoples for centuries. The leaves and bark of the plant contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

When it comes to propagation, Trailing Azalea can be propagated by taking stem cuttings or by dividing the plant. It can also be propagated by seed, but it can take several years for seed-grown plants to flower. The seeds can be started indoors and then transplanted outside.

While Trailing Azalea is generally a low-maintenance plant, it is susceptible to a few pests and diseases. Root rot can be a problem if the soil is poorly drained, and the plant can be damaged by deer and rabbits. Aphids and scale insects can also be a problem, but these pests can be controlled with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

It's worth noting that Trailing Azalea is a slow-growing plant, so it may take a few years before it reaches its full potential in your garden. Patience is key when growing this plant, as it may take time for it to establish itself and start spreading out.

When planting Trailing Azalea, it's important to choose a location that offers the right amount of light and moisture for the plant. It prefers moist, well-drained soil, and it can tolerate some shade, but it will flower best in partial sun. It's also important to provide adequate space for the plant to spread out, as it can become crowded if planted too closely to other plants.

Another consideration when planting Trailing Azalea is to be mindful of its native habitat, it's native to the southeastern United States, so it may not be well-suited to gardens in very cold climates. Gardeners in colder regions should consider growing it in a container, which can be brought indoors during the winter months.

To enhance the beauty of Trailing Azalea, it can be paired with other native plants. Some of the plants that would complement Trailing Azalea include:

  • Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium)
  • Woodland Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)
  • Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)
  • Wild Senna (Senna marilandica)
  • Fall Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

In conclusion, Trailing Azalea is a beautiful and unique plant that can add a lot of beauty to any garden. It's a great choice for groundcover, wildlife gardening, and medicinal purposes. While it can take a few years to reach its full potential, with proper care and maintenance, this plant can thrive in a variety of conditions. It's also important to consider the native habitat and the pairing with other native plants when planting Trailing Azalea.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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