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Erica x darleyensis

 
Erica x darleyensis
Dale Darley heath

Common name Dale Darley heath
Family ericaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z6-8)
Flowers lilac (winter-early spring)
Size 12"
Light sun
Cultural notes likes acidic soil, well-drained but not too dry

This heath, a hybrid between Erica carnea and Erica erigena, is the first plant to bloom in our garden - bar none. The one we have, not a named variety, isn't a stunner and is planted in our side garden, which we don't traverse much in winter - so we often overlook its tiny blooms. But it really is nice, especially when you take a look up close, where you will also notice the glossy dark-green needly foliage.

Erica x darleyensis

Our garden doesn't provide the ideal, acidic soil conditions this plant craves, which may be why it just survives, not increasing in size through the years. Still, ours has been with us for well over ten years now, through both harshly cold winters and soppy wet ones, so I can't complain about its hardiness.

The plant is clearly evergreen, and has brittle branches that easily break off when moved about. That explains why another plant we had, set along the driveway, didn't survive. It gets a bit messy-looking without pruning, with dead branches distracting from the fresh green ones.

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

One or more images of this plant are included in my stock photo catalog

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Last modified: April 08, 2011
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