Winter Flowering Heathers – Ericas
Winter Flowering Heathers
The three heaths mainly grown for winter flowering are Erica hyemalis, with pink and white flowers: Erica gracilis, rosy-purple and Erica nivalis, white. All are native to South Africa, require acid, humus-richand are often grown in almost pure peat with a little lime-free sand or grit to make it more porous.
These heathers are grown in large numbers for sale as pot plants, particularly at Christmas, and this is how they usually find their way into home greenhouses. Unfortunately for easy market handling the plants are frequently removed from the fairly large pots in which they have been grown, the root balls are reduced in size and squeezed into much smaller pots. Such plants are very difficult to keep alive for more than a few weeks.
Winter-flowering heathers are nearly hardy and can be grown in a minimum temperature of 7°C (45°F). They need all the light available and very careful watering since the peatmust not be allowed to become dry but should never be saturated for long. In practice, with a well blended mixture, surplus water should drain away quite rapidly. From June to September plants can be placed in a frame or even stood outside provided they are not neglected and allowed to become dry.