This plant is native to the UK , Northern regions of Spain, France ,Scandinavia and Iceland.
It is very hardy and often found in wetter boggy situations, indeed if you know your heathers it is wise to think twice about walking in the heathland areas where E tetralix is prolific especially in the absence of other species.
This family dislikes the presence of lime intensely and whilst not widely commercially grown, is a useful plant in the garden scenario as it is to be observed flowering from early June to October. It is one of the first to follow on with flower from the Winter/Spring flowering varieties.
The flowers are held on the terminal ends of the stems and usually in a dense head, fading to brown which some view as an attractive feature. The habit is usually upright but more lax varieties such as E tetralix Pink Star are of special interest with its star like pink flowers, one of my favourite heathers.
The flower colours vary from white (‘Alba Mollis’) with silvery grey foliage through to pink (‘Hookstone Pink’ and ‘Pink Star’) and dusky crimson red (‘Riko’).
A golden foliaged form, Erica tetralix ‘Ruth’s Gold’ is sometimes available but difficult to locate. Rarely, one may find a white flowered form growing in the wild……hence the expression ‘lucky heather’.
Erica tetralix requires an acid soil for it to grow successfully although it can be grown in containers or in beds using an acid or ericaceous compost isolated from the ground soil.
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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