Summer Heathers

Erica cinerea ‘Atrosanguinea’ – An amazing Bell Heather with long-lasting summer blooms of ‘glow in the dark’ intense magenta flowers that command attention. This low evergreen shrub grows 10″ tall by 20″ wide and features deep green foliage. A good dense groundcover, but be sure to prune down the spent flowers as soon as they fade. Zone 6 hardy.

Calluna vulgaris ‘Silver Knight’ – A Scotch Heather which is often purchased for its unusual foliage, rather than its flowers. The spiky greyish-silver leaves make a nice contrast in predominantly green gardens and the foliar colour shifts to purplish-grey in winter. The late summer through early autumn pale mauve-pink blooms are subtle, but still quite attractive. Grows 12-18″ tall,  zone 5 hardy.

Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ – Another Scotch or Ling Heather with year-round foliar appeal, with the summer colour being yellowish-green to gold, shifting to a dramatic reddish-orange in the colder weather. The deep mauve flowers are held on erect spikes reaching 12-18″ tall, starting in late summer. This 1993 Award of Garden Merit winner is zone 5 hardy.

Erica cinerea ‘Golden Sport’ – This attractive Bell Heather cultivar is reasonably compact, growing about 8-12″ tall and 12-15″ wide. The vibrant golden-yellow foliage nicely contrasts the amethyst-purple flowers, which last most of the summer and into autumn. Winter brings reddish foliar highlights and like the rest of the species, it prefers full sun. Zone 6 hardy.

Daboecia cantabrica – Irish heath isn’t as well known as some of the other summer heathers but with its large urn-shaped blossoms held well above the coarse foliage, it should be. Depending on the cultivar, the flowering period can last as long as July to October. Several good varieties include ‘Alba’ (white), ‘Arielle’ (magenta), ‘Waley’s Red’ and ‘Rainbow’ (purple w/ variegation). Zone 6 hardy.

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