Formerly known as Erica hibernica, subsequently Erica mediterranea and now as Erica Erigena.
Often known as the Irish Heath as it is to be found naturally in Connemara and in the Northern regions of Spain
Erica Erigena is a taller growing species, up to 120cm, tolerating a wide range of soil types including ones being of alkaline nature.
It naturally flowers from March to May and will follow on from the Winter/Spring flowering Erica carnea and Erica x darleyensis cultivars.
Cultivated forms are available (but usually hard to find) with flower colour from white (W T Rackliff) to pink (Rosea), mauve (Superba) and salmon pink (Irish Dusk).
Golden foliaged varieties are Golden Lady, Thing Nee and the new Golden Jubilee bred by Barry Sellers, these can sometimes be damaged by very cold frost or winds. In addition the taller varieties with open habits can be damaged by snow loading which bends the branches out or even breaking them.
As a plant with height E. erigena is useful for adding height where required in the heather garden and for extending the Winter/Spring flowering season on into the end of May. In addition they can be used as a low growing hedge. On our nursery we have trimmed them to cone topiary shapes to a height of 100cm. In their native situation they are often to be found growing alongside water so it can be deduced that they are very tolerant of wetter conditions.
The more compact varieties are Irish Dusk, Brightness and Irish Silver,
Erica erigena is tolerant of acid and alkaline soils, it can be grown in containers or in beds.
The texture of heavy (clay) soils can be improved by the addition of peat and/or coarse grit
Trim to base of flowering spike after flowering.
Ensure the plants are kept moist during the first year of planting and in dry conditions.
For best results feed sparingly in Spring and early Summer with a general fertiliser.
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