© RHS / Joanna Kossak

Introducing...

Erica

Botanical name: Erica

Common name: Heath, heather

These small evergreen shrubs more than earn their keep, with long-lasting, colourful flower displays, often in winter when little else is in bloom. They are ideal for small gardens and containers or can be massed together in borders to create a tapestry of colours that change through the seasons. Tree heathers, on the other hand, form large shrubs, providing year-round structure and bee-friendly blooms.

Looks

Tiny bell-shaped or tubular flowers, in shades of  pink, purple, red or white, smother these usually compact shrubs at various times of year, depending on the cultivar. The fine, needle-like, evergreen foliage provides yet more colour, in various shades of green or yellow, often tinged with copper.

Likes

They enjoy full sun or light shade, and a well-drained neutral to acidic soil. Mulch with leafmould or composted pine needles to keep the acidity up and improve the soil structure.

Dislikes

They do not grow well in shady locations, or in wet or chalky soils. They will not recover readily if pruned too hard into the older, woody stems.

Did you know?

Most ericas are heathland plants that like free-draining, acidic soil. However, there are a few that will tolerate moist, neutral to alkaline soils, such as Erica × darleyensis, E. carnea, E. vagans and E. erigena.

Growing guide

Browse ericas

Tree heathers

Ground-cover heathers

Ericas we recommend

Buy ericas from RHSplants.co.uk

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Useful advice

Acidifying soil

Acidifying soil

Containers: winter selection

Containers: winter selection

Ground cover plants

Ground cover plants

Shrubs: evergreen by size

Shrubs: evergreen by size

Shrubs: evergreen for specific situations

Shrubs: evergreen for specific situations

Shrubs: smaller for year round interest

Shrubs: smaller for year round interest

Other plants you may like

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