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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Shrubs in Ireland ... Hedging in Ireland

How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my soil?


 
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my soil? Reply with quote

How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my soil?
by GPI

How about some heather?I receive mixed responses from clients sometimes when I suggest incorporating heather into their overall garden design; responses vary from nods of agreement to queries like "Will they actually grow in my soil"?

I will deal with the soil issue in more detail shortly, but first some background heather information....
Heathers are known by the Latin name Erica and are related to Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and the fruit producing Cranberry. Quite a few forms of heather are to be found on the peat lands of Ireland and the moors of England along with mosses, sedges, birch and pine. Often an avid gardener will try to recreate this peat land landscape by under planting birches with masses of heather or creating heather beds enhanced with dwarf conifers such as Thuja "Rheingold" or Pinus mugo "Gnom".

. Heathers in different shades photo / picture / image.

I would advise anyone trying to create visually appealing heather planting to mound the bed, as heathers look at home growing up and over undulating ground in mass plantings. Planting on the flat and in straight rows appears contrived and unnatural, as the heathers does not lend itself particularly well to formal style gardens.

Now to the issue of soil type and heathers which confuses many the amateur gardener. It all comes down to the alkalinity or acidity (PH) of your soil. Some species of heather require acid soil conditions to thrive, whereas others will tolerate neutral to alkaline soils. If you do not know your soil pH, I advise you to purchase a soil testing kit. Kits are available at most Garden Centres. Also, see the video link to a PH test at the bottom of the page.

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If you happen to have an acid or peaty soil, congratulations, you can grow the winter, spring and summer flowering heathers. If perhaps you have a neutral to alkaline or limey soil you will be limited to growing the lime tolerant varieties.

Flowering in winter or spring, the lime tolerant varieties emerge from the following groups...
Erica carnea, Erica x darleyensis, Erica erigena, Erica manipuliflora and Erica vegans.

Named lime tolerant varieties to look out for right now in the garden centres include....
Arrow Erica x darleyensis "Arthur Johnson (pink),
Arrow Erica carnea "Springwood White" (white)
Arrow Erica carnea "Foxhollow" (Yellow foliage with few pink blooms).

Most of the popular heather varieties can be planted at approx 0.6 metre (2ft) spacings, with closer planting advised for quicker mass colour. For visual impact plant your heathers in groups of 5's, 7's or more in the average sized garden, incorporating a good quantity of ericaceous compost into each planting pit.

How about some heather?
Go on; Go on, as adding heather to your site ensures a warm glow during cold winter months.

Any queries or comments on How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my soil?, please post below.

Associated content.....
Soil Testing, How-to Video

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:14 am    Post subject: all about heathers Reply with quote

I planted a string of heathers in February as they were on sale from the nursery in an off season discount and am looking forward to their summer bloom. There is a difference in name for both heath and heather based upon blooming time, though the plants look quite similar and have the same needs. As my soil is rocky and slight in thickness, these low growing, shallow rooted plants should do well to fit in places where the grass won't come to much. For a full description of kinds of heaths and heathers, see this article from Dave's garden.http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/234/

Many of the new cultivars don't self seed though which is a pity. So, I'm also using seeds and plants from the wild as it goes against nature to propagate barren varieties. And I don't like to buy F1 (first generation) plants for this reason. Does anyone know of varieties of this plant that do self seed?

As stated above, this plant loves acid soil, so collecting leaf mold and feeding it large amounts during the fall should improve the mix. It also doesn't like bog, hence I'm planting it in higher ground near the stony outcroppings.

Trouble is, deer like it! I'm doomed if they find out!
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hitbit
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:49 pm    Post subject: Heather Reply with quote

Just curious. As heathers don't like limey soil I was wondering why they are so common in graveyards.

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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

these are two fascinating comments about heathers and heath. I thought they were the same. Heather covers Calluna and Erica Carnea, E. Tetralix, E.Cineraria, E. Arborea. But within each type are a range of varieties.
Heathers are planted in graveyards and the last a long time in flower, however they are short lived as soon as the roots come in contact with alkaline soil. They like good drainage and will respond to feeding.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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hitbit
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:50 am    Post subject: Heathers Reply with quote

Hi Michael,

Thank you for the reply which i found most interesting. I would be obliged if you could recommend an artificial feed for heathers.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject: Re: How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my s Reply with quote

Is it lime tolerant heather that go in a container planted in multipurpose compost along with pansy/viola/golden conifer/ivy/primrose? Is it only winter/spring flowering heathers that are lime tolerent/ Lady in garden centre said some of the summer flowering ones are?

EDIT I looke at the lime tolernant ones you mention in garden centre. Why do they say mix wet peat when planting. Would you do that in a container pansy/viola/golden conifer/ivy/primrose? Would peat bother the others

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my s Reply with quote

Quote:
I looke at the lime tolernant ones you mention in garden centre. Why do they say mix wet peat when planting. Would you do that in a container pansy/viola/golden conifer/ivy/primrose? Would peat bother the others

Thanks


Any standard container compost (moist or moistened by yourself) will be fine to use with lime tolerant heathers in combination with pansy/viola/golden conifer/ivy/primrose etc.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:35 pm    Post subject: Re: How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my s Reply with quote

James Kilkelly, was GPI. wrote:
Quote:
I looke at the lime tolernant ones you mention in garden centre. Why do they say mix wet peat when planting. Would you do that in a container pansy/viola/golden conifer/ivy/primrose? Would peat bother the others

Thanks


Any standard container compost (moist or moistened by yourself) will be fine to use with lime tolerant heathers in combination with pansy/viola/golden conifer/ivy/primrose etc.

Thanks for that info , much appreciated
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am I right they will not grow in shade?
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:11 pm    Post subject: Re: How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my s Reply with quote

James Kilkelly, was GPI. wrote:
How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my soil?
by GPI

How about some heather?I receive mixed responses from clients sometimes when I suggest incorporating heather into their overall garden design; responses vary from nods of agreement to queries like "Will they actually grow in my soil"?

I will deal with the soil issue in more detail shortly, but first some background heather information....
Heathers are known by the Latin name Erica and are related to Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and the fruit producing Cranberry. Quite a few forms of heather are to be found on the peat lands of Ireland and the moors of England along with mosses, sedges, birch and pine. Often an avid gardener will try to recreate this peat land landscape by under planting birches with masses of heather or creating heather beds enhanced with dwarf conifers such as Thuja "Rheingold" or Pinus mugo "Gnom".

. Heathers in different shades photo / picture / image.

I would advise anyone trying to create visually appealing heather planting to mound the bed, as heathers look at home growing up and over undulating ground in mass plantings. Planting on the flat and in straight rows appears contrived and unnatural, as the heathers does not lend itself particularly well to formal style gardens.

Now to the issue of soil type and heathers which confuses many the amateur gardener. It all comes down to the alkalinity or acidity (PH) of your soil. Some species of heather require acid soil conditions to thrive, whereas others will tolerate neutral to alkaline soils. If you do not know your soil pH, I advise you to purchase a soil testing kit. Kits are available at most Garden Centres. Also, see the video link to a PH test at the bottom of the page.

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If you happen to have an acid or peaty soil, congratulations, you can grow the winter, spring and summer flowering heathers. If perhaps you have a neutral to alkaline or limey soil you will be limited to growing the lime tolerant varieties.

Flowering in winter or spring, the lime tolerant varieties emerge from the following groups...
Erica carnea, Erica x darleyensis, Erica erigena, Erica manipuliflora and Erica vegans.

Named lime tolerant varieties to look out for right now in the garden centres include....
Arrow Erica x darleyensis "Arthur Johnson (pink),
Arrow Erica carnea "Springwood White" (white)
Arrow Erica carnea "Foxhollow" (Yellow foliage with few pink blooms).

Most of the popular heather varieties can be planted at approx 0.6 metre (2ft) spacings, with closer planting advised for quicker mass colour. For visual impact plant your heathers in groups of 5's, 7's or more in the average sized garden, incorporating a good quantity of ericaceous compost into each planting pit.

How about some heather?
Go on; Go on, as adding heather to your site ensures a warm glow during cold winter months.

Any queries or comments on How about some heathers? Will they actually grow in my soil?, please post below.

Associated content.....
Soil Testing, How-to Video
Would you use ericaceous compost even with lime tolerant heathers like erica darleyensis Eva Gold. i am planting some of these next week
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