Erica- Heather, Heath

A well known heather species, occuring in several forms as small, evergreen shrubs.


By no means only in a heather garden; they may also be interplanted with other ground-cover in borders etc. Provide sun or partial shade. Heath must be cut back in spring or after flowering.


All species do best in lime-free, humus-rich soil, which must be constantly moist. Erica carnea is more tolerant of lime.


From cuttings in late summer.

Erica ciliaris, Dorset heath: 30-50 cm; large, purple-red flowers in late summer and early autumn. The grey-green leaves are arranged in circles of three. ‘Globosa’ is the most hardy form.

Erica cinerea: Height 30-40 cm; urn-shaped flowers from early summer to early autumn, purple in the species. The leaves are arranged in circles of three. ‘Alba’ is pure white, ‘Atrosanguinea’ has rose-pink flowers; ‘CD. Eason’ is bright red; ‘Cevennes’, lavender pink; ‘Pallas’, pure purple; ‘Pallida’, pale lavender-pink; ‘Rosea’, crimson pink.

Erica X darleyensis: Height to 60 cm; white or pale-purple flowers from mid winter to late spring. Not entirely winter-hardy. ‘Darley Dale’, pale purple-pink; ‘Silberschmelze’, silvery white.

Erica herhacea syn Erica carnea: Height to 40 cm, creeping habit. Usually flowers as early as the spring months; leaves in circles of four. ‘James Backhouse’, pale purple-pink; ‘Praecox Rubra’, pale purple-red; ‘Ruby Glow’, deep purple-pink; ‘Snow Queen’, white; ‘Vivellii’, deep purple-red; ‘Winter Beauty’, deep purple-pink. Erica tetralix: Height to 40 cm; prostrate habit; flowering season mid summer to early autumn; the urn-shaped pale-pink flowers are arranged in umbels all facing one way. Leaves in circles of four, downy. An excellent hardy species. ‘Alba’ has pure white flowers; ‘Helma’, mauve pink, with flowers facing in all directions; ‘Ken Underwood’, pale crimson-red.

Erica vagans, Cornish heath: Height 30-50 cm; flowering season mid summer to early autumn. The flowers appear in dense cylinder-shaped clusters, purple pink in colour, and wide bell-shaped. Leaves in circles of 4 or 5. Moderately hardy.

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