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Heathers

Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
I would like to plant some heathers in the garden but I don't have the right soil for them, would it suffice to use ericaceous compost when planting them?

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  • BijdezeeBijdezee Posts: 1,484
    I think it depends on how alkaline the soil is. If it's not too much then I think you can use ericaceous to make thi gs more acidic plus any feed needs to be for acid loving plants and I ly rain water.

    But, some Heathers do grow in more alkaline soil and others must have acidic. What type of Heather are we talking about here?

    https://www.gardenia.net/plant-variety/about-heaths-and-heathers

    This link might help. 
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    Thanks for the link @Bijdezee...........after reading it the only ones available here now would be the winter heaths.  Not sure if my clay soil is suitable though, I will buy a couple and see how they get on.  I just want to have early flowers for the bees.  I'm trying to have something in flower every month, easy to do all summer but my winter and spring garden is very bare.
  • If you know anywhere with very old ivy you could try this.
    When ivy is old enough, it changes from a creeper to being arboreal and growing with a woody stem. It has done this all along the top edge of my garage. This is also when it flowers.
    The good thing is that if you take cutting from a woody bit, it still goes on growing that way and makes a mini tree or shrub, so you could grow it in a pot and have flowers and then berries for a large part of the winter.
    Bees love snowdrops and Hellebores and you can get early flowering varieties of both that start about November and then carry on through with other varieties. By February you can have species crocus, pulmonarias and early daffs as well. There's Sarcococca, Corylopsis and Hamamelis too.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    Mary - the Ericas will grow pretty much anywhere. It's only the Callunas which need a more acid soil, and even then, as with lots of plants that people think need ericaceous soil [rhodos, azaleas, camellias etc]  they don't - they just don't like very alkaline soil. The Ericas will be a great addition to your garden for winter   :)
    I'd agree with B'cupdays - hellebores, snowdrops, crocus etc are all brilliant for late winter into spring, and also species tulips. I'd include Pasqueflowers and native primulas in that too.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    Thanks for the info........I received my bulb order yesterday which includes crocus, tulips and daffodils.  I grew and planted pulmonaries also, so I'm making progress, albet slowly but that's ok too.  I must look at pasqueflowers.......ohh they are lovely, will definitely get some seeds for those!  
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    They really are pretty Mary - and the seedheads afterwards are gorgeous   :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,016
    Buttercup - I didn't know that about mature ivy.   Brilliant!  Thanks.  I shall swipe an occasional cutting from my neighbours' hedge and see what I can get.

    Mary - winter flowering clematis will also feed early bees and other insects if you have a sheltered corner so it doesn't get blown to bits of frozen.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    @Obelixx I planted one last year, didn't flower, hopefully it will this year as it's growing quite well.
  • dappledshadedappledshade Posts: 1,017
    edited September 2018
    Mary370 said:
    I would like to plant some heathers in the garden but I don't have the right soil for them, would it suffice to use ericaceous compost when planting them?
    I've got heathers here in London, but in pots. So long as they don't dry out, they're fine. I have had more success with the type pictured below (sorry, can't recall the name - it's 3 years and doing really well), than the darker leaved, more spiky kind.
    It's on a south east facing windowsill, quite exposed (which they like) and only gets rainwater (I store rainwater to give to it).
    I planted it in ericaceous compost and after it has finished flowering (the flower buds are just about to open now - it's a white one) I feed it and lightly trim.
    They've also done well in a previous garden, in a raised ericaceous bed - has to be free draining.
    I agree that plating other plants can also give you food for pollinators in the autumn and winter months - my sarcococcas, daphne and snowdrops are regularly visited.

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