Winter Heather II / Erica

Erica x darleyensis ‘Alice’ (Erica carnea x Erica erigena) – A newer introduction with very large deep magenta blooms, almost like a big-flowered ‘Kramer’s Red’. These are borne from January to April over contrasting dark green foliage. Given the size of the blooms and its floriferous nature, I expect that this one will really attract the bees. Grows 18″ tall by 24″ wide. Hardy to zone 6.

Erica x darleyenesis ‘Katia’ (Erica carnea x Erica erigena) – This is the perfect companion plant for ‘Alice’, with equally large flowers. The pure white blooms appear from winter into early spring and are borne over mid-green foliage. This sport of ‘Silberschmelze’ also has cream coloured new growth. ‘Katia’ grows 14″ high by 30″ wide and is hardy to zone 6.

Erica x darleyensis ‘Jenny Porter’ (Erica carnea x Erica erigena) – This winter heather has very unusual pale lilac flowers that emerge from January to May over medium green foliage. ‘Jenny Porter’ is an Award of Garden Merit winner and features new growth tips of cream. This vigorous evergreen shrub grows 10″ tall by 22″ wide and is hardy to zone 6.

Erica carnea ‘Isabell’ (syn. Erica carnea f. alba ‘Isabell’) – An Award of Garden Merit winner which bears bright white flowers from late winter through to early spring. Given its floriferous nature and low growth habit, it makes an ideal flowering groundcover. ‘Isabell’ prefers full sun and grows 6″ high by 14″ wide. Hardy to zone 5.

Erica x darleyenesis ‘Darley Dale’ (Erica carnea x Erica erigena) – This winter heather features shell pink flowers that open quite pale and darken with age. ‘Darley Dale’ is a durable cultivar and a good choice for those more challenging sites. The new growth is cream, maturing to a medium green. Lightly shear in spring after flowering. Grows 15″ high by 30″ wide. Hardy to zone 6.

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