Do you know how to plan for 12 months of colour with flowering Heathers? Typically associated with Winter into Spring, Heathers can with some careful planning, provide flower colour and foliage interest all year round.
Winter and Spring tend to be seasons we appreciate the heather, usually when little else is in flower. Heathers are often grown in baskets or planters for a splash of winter cheer.
A whole year of low maintenance, flowering heather in a whole range of colours can be achieved by careful selecting named varieties of Erica and Calluna that follow each other to create a succession of flowers.
First we cleared the old woody heather from both beds. We cut the stems with an old hedge trimmer, allowing us to quickly clear the area of Heathers and begin digging out the roots.
How to enjoy 12 months with flowering Heathers
Did you know with some careful planning you can achieve all year long colour in your garden with 12 months of flowering heather.
The following varieties have been chosen to provide seasonal interest and foliage colour and texture
Calluna vulgaris ‘County Wicklow’
Flowering from Jul-Oct – Flower colour Light pink – Foliage colour green
Calluna vulgaris ‘Sir John Charrington’
Flowering from Jul-September – Flower colour Mauve pink Foliage colour yellow
Calluna vulgaris ‘Silver Queen’
Flowering from Aug-sept lavender silver
Erica Darleyensis ‘Ghost Hills’
Flowering from nov-may pink>heliotrope
Erica Darleyensis ‘Kramers Role’
Flowering from Nov-Apr magenta
Erica carnea ‘Pink Spangles’
Flowering from February-May – Flower colour Pink
Erica Australia ‘Riverslea’
Flowering from April to June – Flower colour Lilac pink
Erica carnea ‘Foxhollow’
Flowering from June-August -Flower colour Liliac
Erica cinerea ‘Stephen Davies’
Flowering from June-September -Flower colour Deep pink
Erica tetralix ‘Alba Mollis’
Flowering from Jul-November -Flower colour White bells
Erica vagans ‘St Keverne’
Flowering from July-September – Flower colour Lavender
Erica vagans ‘Lyonesse’
Flowering from July-sept white
Erica x watsonii ‘Dawn’
Flowering from July-October – Flower colour mauve
Naturally found growing on heathland and natural sedge bogs, requiring a peat based growing medium most heathers prefer and acidic or neutral soil ph.
Propagation of cuttings is easy but slow, raised largely from semi-ripe cuttings these named varieties of heather or Erica are propagated in their millions.
Heathers prefer a poor light, peaty soil not unlike the moorlands where they grow wild. Wet clay soils that hold moisture are unsuitable and will soon see the demise of your heather collection. Improving the growing condtions with the addition of free draining materials will help break up the clay and provide better drainage.
Growing heathers in a dedicated border or island bed is traditional as they do not compete well with competition from large shrubs or dense shade. Planting your heathers alone in large bold groups or with a selection of ornamental slow growing conifers will add extra interest.
Largely pest and disease free heathers will perform for many years requiring only a light trim after floweirng to remove the deadflower heads and encourage new growth and a compact habit.
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