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Please could anyone recommend a bright winter/early spring heather. I would prefer not a dark red as it is a bit of a dull corner.Thank you. Nan



Hi, Erica carnea will tolerate some shade, but not full shade, it will also tolerate alkaline soil, this isn't to say they prefer these conditions, only that they will tolerate them, but will probably not be at their best, they flower in late winter - early spring, look at the varieties; golden starlet, which has white flowers above lime green foliage which turns a glowing yellow colour in summer, springwood white, is a vigorous and trailing variety, with masses of white flowers above bright green foliage, hope these help, Derek.

4 Feb, 2014


I'd recommend all of these


Erica x darleyensis Darleydale - Shell pink - darkening with age.

Erica carnea December Red - Pink, turning darker with age.

Erica carnea Eileen Porter - Magenta pink

Erica carnea Springwood Pink - A good spreader

and these have attractive foliage

Erica carnea Foxhollow - Bronze tipped yellow - turning red tips in winter.

Erica carnea Altadena - Yellow, tipped pink then bronze.

Erica carnea Ann Sparkes - Dark gold, bronze tips.

Erica carnea Golden Starlet - Lime green foliage turns yellow in summer.

Erica carnea Leslie Sparkes - Pink and gold tips in spring.

Erica x darleyensis Ghost Hills - Light green, tipped cream in spring

4 Feb, 2014


I used to grow lots of winter flowering heathers on my plant nursery but I found the easiest and most reliable ones were erica darleyensis

4 Feb, 2014


I've just had a look back on my old growing list and these were the main ones I grew

They're all erica darleyensis

Lucie,moonshine,Jenny Porter, Furzey, George Randall, Ghost hills, JW porter.

If you do a Google image search on their names you can see what they look like

4 Feb, 2014


Wow, thank you for such an amazing response. I shall get googling straight away. Nan

5 Feb, 2014


i love the names for them, think i will be getting the Ghost Hills, George Randall reminds me of the folk song Lord Randall.

5 Feb, 2014


Could I ask another question please? I think I am going to choose Foxhollow. The area is about 2ft x 2ft 6 on a very slight slope. Do you think it is better to buy one large plant of several smaller ones. I have seen this advertised in 9cm pots but have no idea what that means of how many I would need for that area.

5 Feb, 2014


I'd go for smaller ones and leave space betrween them. They will reach a foot across eventually and join up. In the meantime you could put spring bulbs in between - snowdrops and some of the smaller daffodils would both be happy there and in summer you could fill in with bedding fibrous rooted begonias which will flower until the frosts.
Another heather you might like is Pink spangles. Just have a look in yhour local nursery and see which you like. 9cm is quite big enough and five plants would be plenty if you can leave time for them to gorow! I buy them smaller than that.

5 Feb, 2014


Thanks Steragram, that sounds like a good idea.

5 Feb, 2014


Just to say that many winter flowering heathers can reach much more than a foot across. I've several in my customer's gardens that reach 3-4 feet across and would get bigger if I didn't trim them every year or two.(They're very easy to keep to size... just clip off all flowering growth just before the plant finishes flowering in spring.... do not cut back into stems with no leaves as heathers will not regrow from those... water well until established.. if a heather gets completely dry once it will die.

So one in a 2 foot square area will be fine if you're prepared to wait a few years . otherwise I'd suggest 3 9cm pot ones which will probably have grown together in about 3 years

These are all erica darleyensis and are about 4 feet across today (photo taken in 2009 when they were about 30 inches across )

On average I'd estimate that once established they grow 3-6 inches in diameter each year

5 Feb, 2014


I trim back my winter flowering heathers when the flowers go back as it keeps the plant nice and tight otherwise they can get too tall and or straggly.

6 Feb, 2014


I did hesitate about suggesting five Anchorman, but it take some years for them to get as big as four feet and I thought Nanniji might want a quicker result. You can always remove any that get too big and as you say they are easy to trim to size.

6 Feb, 2014



7 Feb, 2014


thanks everyone.

7 Feb, 2014

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