when to take heather cuttings

December 2, 2020

There are many adaptations of this method, depending on whether small or large quantities of rooted cuttings are being produced. The degree of alkalinity or acidity of your soil is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 known as the pH scale. Plan on using 5 plants per square metre (4 plants per sq. Callunas such as ‘Spring Torch’ or ‘Spring Cream’, which have brightly coloured new growth in spring, are better pruned in the autumn. Knock the cuttings out of the seed tray in a similar manner as one would a plant from a pot. Erica x watsonii: A dainty plant, which flowers from June or July into October or November, depending on variety. Erica carnea cuttings are best taken in July or August by selecting stems which do not have buds forming on them. Plant heathers so that the foliage is resting on the ground and no part of the root ball is showing above ground. Where pollen is taken from one species or cultivar and placed on the stigma of another there is potential for hybridisation. A layer can be made at any time of year. In the case of the heel cutting, nip out the growing tip. So keep pots or planters on a bed of pebbles which are kept wet at all times. Water thereafter as normal. They are invariably grown in pots. Any cuttings that die should be removed to minimise disease. Trim the stems just below a node (or leaf joint). This website is dedicated to the memory of Bob Rope who loved his heathers. The “peaked” bed will give a spectacular display for 6 to 10 weeks and then by judicious use of foliage varieties will give a subdued but still colourful display for the rest of the year. What happens when a cutting roots? In a couple of weeks time you take non flowering green shoots of about 6 to 9 inches long, cut just below a leaf joint. Heather seed can be triggered to germinate by fire and light, so germination is increased if the seed is heated to 120ºC for 30 seconds before sowing in the propagation compost. It is the least hardy of the hardy heathers, but even if it knocked back in an exceptionally hard winter it will usually recover from the base. The two basic ways of rooting heather cuttings attempt to keep this transpiration loss to a minimum. Tree Heather: A Field Guide. Each February or March, trim off dead flowers and seed pods, to make bushy growth. Prepare as above but remove all flower buds by rubbing a finger and thumb upwards along the stem. Place a small amount of compost at the base of a 150mm (6″) plastic pot. Keep the soil moist and be patient, as heather seeds can take up to six months to germinate. Select a pot or container that has at least one hole in the bottom to prevent over-watering. Discard stems where the leaf nodes are more than 2mm apart as these will be more difficult to root and make a less shapely plant. Erica x darleyensis : An attractive and very useful heather, It flowers from late autumn, right through until late spring, in many shades of red, pink, lilac and white. If you are thinking of taking stem-tip heather cuttings then look no further than our simple guide. For a more comprehensive introduction to heather growing, a booklet, Everyone Can Grow Heathers is available through the Heather Society at £3.50. Make sure you water your stock plant the day before you take cuttings and it is best to take your cuttings during the first hours of light. Some species of heather require acid soil conditions to thrive, whereas others will grow in most soils. As a result they are best regarded as a cool greenhouse plant, although they can be grown indoors under certain conditions. Each February or March, trim off dead flowers. There are several methods of taking Hydrangea cuttings. Tear open the base of the root-ball as this will encourage new root growth. Many gardeners have trouble rooting heathers from cuttings but if a number of simple rules are followed, a high success rate can be achieved. Trim each June. Water seed trays carefully with primer solution using a fine hand spray. Fill a 4in (10cm) pot with a mixture of equal parts grit and moist coir or peat-based compost (heathers require an acid growing medium and peat is still the best option for providing this), Eight cuttings should fit into a pot this size. Second - from the chart below, find which description fits your soil situation most closely, and note which of the heather species will succeed for you. The best time to sow seeds is in Spring or Autumn. Heathers produced from seed, even from foliage cultivars, will vary considerably, from ones indistinguishable from moorland plants to perhaps a new find unlike any available commercially. Technically, burning is best because old heather regenerates (from seed or rootstock) quicker and fire destroys the litter which can harbour ticks. Disinfecting the cutting tool with alcohol after each cut will lessen the possibility of spreading disease form one plant to another. Using a forsythe pot will make propagating cuttings easier. It probably has brightest range of colours of all the summer flowering heathers. Erica cinerea cuttings are best taken during July and August, using non-flowering heel cuttings. These will produce new roots and can be severed from the old plant after about 6 months. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. Each February or March, trim off dead flowers particularly long flowering spikes. 3. Unless you know your soil is acid it is best not to be tempted to buy un-labelled plants. For every pound that you give we can claim an extra 25p from the Inland Revenue. Repeat this operation annually. The trays are placed in a polythene tent and smoke is pumped into the tent by means of a plastic pipe from a large metal drum. In Amateur Gardening 14 November 2020, we look at pure wild roses, spring bulb containers you have to try, and best plants for winter fragrance. I love to be able to grow new plants for free. Will thrive in alkaline, neutral or acid conditions, as long as the soil it is not deficient in magnesium. Use no more than one conifer per five (four) square metres (square yards) and use those attaining a height of one to three metres (yards) in ten years. Ericaceous plants require significant quantities of iron, which in soils with a pH above 6.5 is rendered virtually insoluble and hence iron deficiency sets in, causing the plant to yellow and then die. If you have a large heather bed or border, pruning individual plants can be a major operation. There is no need to use rooting hormones for hardy heathers. Leave for several months, checking occasionally that the polythene bag is fogged. If your soil is light, sandy and acid, then you are very fortunate. They are frost-hardy. Needs an acid soil. Once the pot has been filled, water heavily so that compost seals the holes. Heathers benefit from an annual pruning and the following schedule may be of assistance. In general, cuttings should be taken from healthy, vigorous plants, preferably not more than three years old, but other aspects are more species-dependent. Try to obtain the type containing test tubes already filled with the testing liquid. However, the plant usually flowers on these long spikes and, therefore, a choice has to be made between flowers and the shape of the plant in the early years. The best time of year to take cuttings is when plants are growing rapidly, daytime temps are still between 55 and 70 … Remove a strong, healthy, non-flowering shoot with clean secateurs, cutting straight across the stem about 4in (10cm) below the tip. If heathers are kept indoors, they require a cool and well-lit moist atmosphere. These species root in a similar way to Erica carnea. Owdboggy . Needs an acid soil. 4. Cuttings. Remove any dead flowers by rubbing your finger and thumb down the stem. To prevent seedlings becoming too leggy, pinch out the tip if they are over 25mm (1in) high. First - look at the first two names on the plant label, which (unless you have found something unusual) will almost certainly be one of the following: Calluna vulgaris, Daboecia cantabrica, Daboecia x scotica, Erica carnea, Erica ciliaris, Erica cinerea, Erica erigena, , Erica tetralix, Erica vagans, Erica x darleyensis, Erica x griffithsii or Erica x watsonii. Plan to use about ten different heather varieties but reduce this number if necessary to ensure that the minimum number of plants of a particular cultivar is three. The above recommendations apply to the UK, or any country whose average winter temperatures do not fall below about -12o C. If average temperatures are below this, then many species will still thrive, and you can obtain specific recommendations in relation to your particular climate from The Heather Society. Fill the trench with a mixture of sphagnum moss peat and grit sand. A heather garden should be planted in a position where it will be unshaded for all or most of the day and, if possible, facing south. 4. This guarantees the best chance of rooting. Avoid using pH probes which require no battery, also widely available in Garden Centres, as these do not produce sufficiently accurate results. How do I take cuttings from 'Broom ' 28 May, 2010; Answers. Rejuvenate a really neglected old plant by taking it all the way back. Cut the stem with a sharp knife 2cm below the leafy growth. Use this to fill small 75mm (3in) pots or compartmented seed trays. This will encourage the development of healthy new flowering stems. Calluna vulgaris cuttings can also be taken during July and August from the growth just below the flowering stem. Ideally heel cuttings about 4 to 5cm long are best but if in short supply a tip cutting can be prepared but cut off the top 5cm of growth with a sharp knife. Leave for several months, checking occasionally that the polythene bag is fogged. Take cuttings in summer and replant them in the garden the following spring. When to take cuttings If you have a favourite shrub, it's easy to make more plants by taking cuttings. This method is slightly more prone to fungal attack and therefore is most effective if propagation is delayed until September. After flowering, trim half of previous year’s growth for the first four years to encourage bushy growth; trim off broken branches. Seedlings are ready for transplanting six months to one year after germination. Why do some species root easier than others? Erica x darleyensis, Erica erigena and Erica vagans cuttings are best taken in August, making particularly sure in the case of Erica erigena that the stem is semi-ripe, i.e. There is no need to add fertiliser at this stage, in fact, the yield is likely to be higher if none is added. Then use a sharp knife to trim the cutti… The most common method of producing heathers is from cuttings. Take an 8-inch-long cutting from a stem tip, using shears that have been disinfected in a 10 percent bleach solution. Cover the branch with the peat/sand mixture and mound up around the now upright tip. The dainty red, pink or white flowers are held in clusters at the top of 15 to 20cm stems. 3. It is true that, without an acid soil, you can’t grow the full range of these beautiful plants (except in containers). The seed trays are then placed under cover in the shade until the seeds have germinated. Pull down carefully to tear the cutting from the main stem so as to leave a small ‘heel’ at the base of the cutting. Choose one with a pliable stem and a leafy tip. Kits are available at most Garden Centres. Take semi-ripe cuttings (too late now) and put them in a rooting medium overwinter until they grow a substantial root system. Transplanting is best done in early spring, but if the cuttings are sufficiently well rooted by September, they can be potted on and over-wintered in a cold-frame. Dib holes with a nail about 2cm apart close to both edges. To increase your stock of heathers, they must be propagated vegetatively to remain true to the parent plant. "Painted" or "dyed" heathers are heathers, almost always plants of Calluna vulgaris (ling or Scotch heather), which have been sprayed all over with a dye. The cuttings are routinely sprayed with a non-systemic imidazole fungicide. At this time of year use the top 5cm of growth but do not pinch out the growing tip. Make a hole in the centre of the pot and plant the cuttings deeply, burying any bare stems so that the lower foliage rests on the soil surface. Mix ericaceous compost with Cornish grit (or fine granule Perlite) and silver sand in a ratio of 3:1:1, adding a little fertilizer (it is best to use granules, and follow the instructions of the manufacturer). An easier option, which gives a good result, is to go over them with shears or a hedge trimmer at the recommended time. Place the pots outside when risk of severe frosts has passed, keeping them WELL IRRIGATED DAILY. The plants grow well in sun or part shade and fast-draining, acidic soil. Propagate by layering in autumn (allowing 12 months to root fully) or by taking short side-shoot cuttings in mid to late summer and root them in well drained soil in a cold frame. Needs an acid soil, Erica cinerea (Bell heather): Flowers from early summer to early autumn. Calluna vulgaris (Scottish heather or Ling): Flowers from late summer until well into autumn and there is a vast range of colours to choose from, both in flower and foliage. Often heel cuttings of this type are difficult to find, in which case the stems below flowering shoots can be used, provided the spacing between the tufts of leaves does not exceed 2mm. Keep the cuttings covered with a propagator lid or plastic and keep in a … Those not rooting will come out easily and can be replaced just as easily. Not true – Everyone can grow heathers! Needs an acid soil, but will tolerate some lime if the soil is well drained. Keep the seed tray in a shaded part of a well-ventilated greenhouse, out of intense direct sun, to prevent rapid evaporation from the soil surface even after seedlings appear, as this helps prevent them drying out. Erica ciliaris (Dorset heath): In bloom from mid-summer until autumn. Planting on dry sites or under trees should be avoided. Spray with water and place the pots or trays in a larger tray filled with fine gravel, and keep watered. Heathers make great path liners, or rockery plants, and will cling on to life in very little compost. About two weeks after the cuttings are taken, a gradual swelling of the whole stem is observed. A compost into which rooting can take place can be prepared from 3 parts sphagnum moss peat (do NOT use sedge peat as this can often have a high pH) and one part of horticultural perlite. Make a shallow trench with a trowel into which the selected branch can be drawn. Add 50ml of water and wash the primer from the paper. The winter/spring flowering heathers will tolerate some shade’ but won’t flower as well. Make sure to buy ericaceous compost when planting acid-loving plants. A longer cutting stores more food in it. The colouring also appears not to fade in sunlight. The species chosen, therefore, will depend, to some extent, on whether the soil is acid or alkaline. Heights range from 90cm down to 45cm. The first, open to all amateur growers and described below, relies on keeping the cuttings humid, the second is more sophisticated; mist propagation. However the garish colours are not appropriate for most garden situations. For those whose pH is greater than 6.5, the best advice is to restrict your choice to Erica carnea, Erica x darleyensis, Erica erigena, Erica manipuliflora, Erica vagans and any of the tree heaths with the exception of Erica arborea. 5. Heights range from 45cm to around 20cm. Recently it has been discovered that in addition to the more obvious effect of heat, the smoke from fires is responsible for stimulating the germination of seed of many Erica species in South Africa. Daboecia cantabrica (St Dabeoc’s heath): Flowers from June until late autumn. Erica ciliaris, Erica mackayana and Erica tetralix cuttings are best taken during July and August using non-flowering heel cuttings about 1 to 2cm long, which are usually plentiful. Place an inch of compost in the bottom of a 6-inch pot. Erica carnea (Mountain heath): Flowers from early winter into late spring – just when colour in the garden is needed most. In general, cuttings should be taken from healthy, vigorous plants, preferably not more than three years old, but other aspects are more species-dependent. We will also be able to reclaim the tax on any future donations you make. However, prune them no later than May, or you may be cutting off next winter’s flowers. Sometimes this type of cutting is not readily available, in which case prepare in a similar way to a July Calluna cutting. Cuttings from new shoots grown in spring root readily, allowing you to plant a new lilly pilly from an existing tree. Seed is sown in conventional plastic trays and is covered by a thin layer of soil. Locate a stem near the center of the plant that is growing close to the ground, and cut straight across to avoid damaging the node. What are the best places in which to plant heathers? It is happy in acid, neutral or alkaline soils. Height is around 45cm. There is absolutely nothing more cheering in those dark days after Christmas, than a bed or border of winter/spring flowering heathers - their brilliant colours brightening the winter gloom and giving several months of pleasure. In short, "painted" or "dyed" heathers are as artificial as plastic flowers - heather enthusiasts should not be tempted to waste money on them. These artificially dyed plants are not indoor plants - they should be grown outdoors either planted in a container (tub, window-box) or into a flower-bed. Cutting instructions. 1. On sunny days, an added bonus is the sight (and sound) of all the bees foraging among the flowers, grateful for nectar at a time when food is short. 1. Our Amatuer Gardening expert shows you how to go about it in six easy steps. Heathers have been sprayed for decorative purposes. What is the best way to arrange a heather garden? Summer cuttings can be taken from a number of plants including rosemary, lavender and other shrubby perennials. Any plants I have purchased have been dead within a short time. Select a branch or number of branches on the outside of the plant. These are not the only species/hybrids you may come across at garden centres and nurseries, but are certainly the most common ones. What happens next? Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting by rubbing finger and thumb down the stem. As a bonus the foliage has attractive coloured tips in the spring. The first decision that has to be made is whether to have a heather bed designed to peak at a particular time of year or whether to have a bed which has something in flower for most of the year. Heathers grow best in an open, sunny situation. 1. Follow steps 5 to 8 above. Pot them up, or if your growing season is long, put them in a nursery bed for a season. If you have an existing plant that you like, you can grow a new plant from one of its branches. Mix seed with dome dry silver sand and sow in conventional plastic trays and covered with a thin layer of sieved “compost” (peat + grit + silver sand mixed). Propagating Heather. There is no need to use rooting hormones for hardy heathers. Despite enduring long hot and dry summers in South Africa most cultivated heathers hate being dry and this is the greatest danger. This will make them sprout side shoots and stimulate growth. "Painted" heathers need the same growing conditions that all Calluna cultivars require: lime-free, moist soil and full sunlight. Will tolerate acid, neutral or alkaline soils. Flowers range from purple, to lilac and pink, through to white. The best time to sow and treat seed is in the late Summer and early Autumn when day/night temperature fluctuations are at their maximum. Heathers can be propagated by layering, cuttings, or by seed. Autumn (September and October in northern hemisphere) is preferred. If you need to hold a seedling, hold it by the leaves at the very tip of the shoot. Step 1 Remove a strong, healthy, non-flowering shoot with clean secateurs, cutting straight across the stem about 4in (10cm) below the tip. Germination can take as long as six months. Cut back after flowering by trimming off all flowering spikes. If resistance is felt, you can be sure that rooting is taking place. It’s always best to take cuttings early in the morning, when the parent plant is still turgid, i.e. Cuttings should be placed in good light but not direct, scorching sunlight. This annual treatment will keep the plants rejuvenated for many years. What composts can I use for growing heathers? This treatment cannot be good for a living plant. Place a primed paper disc in a cup. Every other April or May, trim flower heads with shears. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting by pulling downwards. If you do not know your soil pH, purchase a soil testing kit. Alternatively, the compost made up for propagation of cuttings can be used (this time there is no need to sieve the peat). Lightly firm compost into the tray and dib holes 2cm apart. A heated propagator will speed rooting, but is not essential, Instead of a 4in (10cm) pot, you could insert individual cuttings in 3in (7.5cm) pots. Step 2 – Trim cuttings to size. Erica erigena is a useful plant, not only because it is lime tolerant, but because it fills the gap between the winter/spring flowering heathers and the summer flowering ones. Propagating Heather Plants and Growing them from Seed. If not, heavily water the sand in the centre pot, and re-seal. Select side shoots which are firm and just turning to straw brown about 4 to 5cm long. The chart below will help you select the species for you soil type:-. Water regularly throughout the spring and summer. Several alternatives are being pursued and no doubt more will be investigated, but at present, composts based on coconut fibre or wood fibre are unsatisfactory. Providing the heather is alive and lives, new shoots should appear in spring. Do not be afraid of limiting growth. They should not be pruned too hard i.e. Why do cuttings root easier at certain times of the year? Take cuttings at leaf fall and just before the buds break. Propagation from seed is often used where heather is needed for restoration work or for such areas as golf courses. Rooted segments can be severed and transplanted easily. If you’re new to plant propagation, taking lavender cuttings in summer is a good way to start as they root easily and will provide you with lots of new plants for free.. Normally, you would not cut into the woody part of a heather because it might not come back. Prune no later than May. Take a dozen and roll them up in a piece of clear plastic tape, round the middle, leaving the tops and the bottoms clear. The trays are left in the smoke for 1 to 2 hours. The important feature to look for when purchasing compost is to ensure that it is suitable for ericaceous plants. In which case, prune when the flowers are fading to avoid trimming off next spring’s flowers. Not all plants have to be grown from a seed. Trim this material to 5cm (2in). How do I select heathers for a particular soil type? Water heavily and place the pots outside in a well drained, not too exposed area. Take and prepare heel cuttings 3 to 5cm long as described for Erica ciliaris. If slightly larger numbers required, the twin pot approach can be replaced by a plastic seed tray. The earlier this is done after purchase, the greater the chance of survival.? These questions and many others like them arise irrespective of what form of propagation is used. Many heather growers indicate on their plant labels whether the heathers are suitable for acid or alkaline soils, which is very useful. All cuttings, except hardwood cuttings, are very prone to drying out and should be taken in the early morning so they are fully turgid (or water the parent plant well a few hours before taking the cutting), stored in a plastic bag (ideally a co-extruded bag which is black on the inside and white on the outside) and used as quickly as possible. The flowers range from red, through pink and lilac to white and there are many with superb coloured foliage as well. 2. With a single method, you can propagate and grow many different plants from stem cuttings. Rooting heather cuttings is the easiest way to produce a moderate amount of plants that will be exact clones of the parent plant. With peat becoming a diminishing resource, a considerable amount of research is being conducted to find an alternative to peat. Draw the selected branch down into the trench, taking care not to break it. 7. Pruning Heather. Hybrids of European heathers (for example Erica x darleyensis) are normally sterile and therefore do not produce seed. The regrowth is more nutritious when burnt rather than cut but estates need not worry if they find burning is too difficult due to climate, lack of manpower or close proximity to forestry. Any cuttings that die should be removed to minimise disease. Estimate the planting area in square metres (square yards), deducting one square metre (square yard) for each conifer included. Nine to ten months later a root system will have formed at the bend in the stem where it was pegged, and the new plantlet can then be severed from its parent and planted in its final growing position. Heathers self-layer and root readily wherever their stems are in contact with the soil. Cut the stem with a sharp knife immediately below the flowers and then cut again to create a cutting 4 to 5cm long. This species roots by producing a large swelling at the base of the cutting (it does not seem to matter whether it is a tip or heel cutting). Do not allow seed compost to dry out at any time, and do not keep the tray sitting in deep water. When the cuttings are well rooted (4 to 8 weeks, for most plants) and are putting on new growth, transplant them into individual containers of potting soil. Root Mexican heather cuttings in summer when the shrub is actively growing. Use a clean pair of secateurs or a sharp knife to cut a few healthy stems to a length of about 10cm. Retrieve seeds by pouring the solution on to filter paper so the solution drains into a receptacle. 1. Flowering time is from July through to October or November. On old woody plants with dead centres, it is best to remove the growth at the base or crown of the heather. 10. Avoid stems where the leaf nodes are more than 2mm apart. Do not be afraid of limiting growth. NEVER PLACE THE POT IN A GREENHOUSE as the temperature variation is too great, nor in a propagator unless you are prepared to spray the cuttings five or six times a day. Heathers rarely show sign of wilting so it is already too late if significant leaf drop occurs. It takes the form of an impregnated paper disc which can be obtained from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Claremont 7735, South Africa. Fill a 4-inch terra cotta pot halfway with sand. Insert each so lower leaves are just resting on the compost. Daboecia x scotica : In effect, this dainty hybrid between Daboecia cantabrica and Daboecia azorica, is a smaller version of Daboecia cantabrica , with similar leaves and flowers , but a more compact habit. Trim every March. Take a wooden or plastic seed tray 75-100mm (3-4 inches) deep, and place a 5mm (0.25in) layer of fine gravel in the bottom, and then a layer of washed potting grit 5-10mm (0.25-0.5in) deep. The best places are usually a kitchen, bathroom, conservatory or even a sheltered porch. Woody plants that you can root include bougainvillea, fuchsia, gardenia, heather, honeysuckle, ivy, pyracantha, star jasmine, and willow. Erica x griffithsii: This elegant plant has long flower spikes in shades of pink. May 14, 2013 - Summer is the season for taking stem-tip cuttings of heathers. It will tolerate some shade. Erica erigena : Does not need pruning unless it is necessary to keep to a particular size. Select stems which are firm and just turning straw brown. Peg it down firmly with a wire hook about 15cm (6 in) long, making sure that the tip of the branch is turned upwards. Heather can be propagated by taking cuttings from healthy plants in summer. Cuphea is relatively easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Remove a strong, healthy, non-flowering shoot with clean secateurs, cutting straight across the stem about 4in (10cm) below the tip. Use a dibber or a finger to make a deep hole in the compost, insert one seedling, and firm the compost lightly around it. Needs an acid soil. heather cuttings How to Propagate New Plants from Cuttings. Plants will grow through to their natural colour in time. Erica carnea cuttings can also be taken in March and April. yard) making allowances for other small leaved shrubs planted with the heathers. Trim off all flower heads. In this case, select stems where the leafy growth is at least 1cm long. Erica x darleyensis: As these are such exuberant heathers it is advisable to trim them annually, if only to stop them smothering their less vigorous neighbours. 5. To keep Cuphea looking attractive and full of blooms, cut it back severely in the fall or early spring. October 20, 2015 October 21, 2016 Kristin Crouch. Add 950ml of water to the filtered primer solution. 6. Polythene sheet is stretched across the bed and is turned every 3 or 4 days to minimise fungal attack. This method relies on keeping cuttings humid to minimise transpiration and is suitable for rooting most of the widely grown hardy species of heather. Interestingly, Erica x williamsii behaves in a similar manner to Erica tetralix despite the leaf attachment being closer to Erica vagans. The main danger with this approach is the risk of fungal attack. The cuttings can then remain in the pot until spring, when they can be planted out, with no need for potting on. gardens, kristin crouch heather cuttings, how to do cuttings, hydrangea cuttings, rosemary cuttings, Skimmia cuttings Post navigation Through the Gift Aid scheme, we can reclaim the tax on your donation or membership subscription. Take a chance, it might come back. Erica cinerea does best in a light sandy soil, which doesn’t get too wet in winter. After one to three months seed should have germinated. If not, simply heavily water again, leave 20 minutes and re-seal. For pictures, click on the ‘picture bar’ on the Home Page. Once a cutting has been severed from the parent plant, it will continue to loose moisture via the leaves until such time as it produces roots. EUROPEAN HEATHERS – hardy heaths including northern hemisphere species of Erica, Calluna vulgaris (ling) and Daboecia (St Dabeoc’s heath)): for Cape heaths see below. 261407), RHS AGM Trial of the Top Winter Flowering Ericas – Award of Garden Merit (AGM) Trial 2015. 4. Some varieties have golden foliage and some are highly scented. Heights range from around 60cm, down to cultivars that hug the ground - with all shapes and sizes in between. The cuttings are placed into a moist growing medium and moved outdoors after a healthy root system forms. Good luck with your cuttings – if you are successful why not leave a comment and tell us how it went. Soak seeds for 24 hours in the primer solution. Periodically check heather cuttings after two to three months for rooting by gently tugging on them. It only rarely roots around nodules, which may account for the increased difficulty most propagators have with this species. A hardy evergreen, tree heather prefers acid soil and can withstand some exposure. A very attractive heather, with flowers in long colourful racemes ( not as widely available as the others).. Heights range from 30cm, down to around 15cm. Strip leaves from the lower third of the cutting. Needs an acid soil, Erica tetralix (Cross-leaved heath): Flowers from early summer until autumn. Place the cuttings in the prepared holes but do not firm them in. In the wild it grows naturally in boggy places, but will stand much drier conditions in the garden. An acid gritty sand can be used instead of perlite where available but it must be acid. If horticultural perlite is being used add water to the perlite as instructed by the manufacturer, otherwise for easy mixing and subsequent handling, there is no need to add extra water at this stage. Gather a 5-inch-long portion from the tip of the stem. You can take cuttings from violas any time after July. Care has to be taken to wean the cuttings from the humid atmosphere once rooted. How to Grow Cuttings from Established Plants. It is graceful, mysterious, show-stopping: all the things that heather isn’t. It seems to be a too commonly held belief that, if your soil isn’t acid, you can’t grow heathers. Moisten the soil with a spray bottle and place it in a warm spot away from direct sunlight. If small numbers are required, the following method minimises that risk. I find it is best to take them in early summer, around July to ensure they get plenty of time to get a good head start. Daboecia cantabrica and Daboecia x scotica cuttings are best taken in July. Will tolerate acid, neutral or alkaline soils. The time it takes to do this varies considerably. 6. Choose non-flowered shoots of this year’s growth and ensure that they’re free from pests and disease. Erica erigena (Irish heath): Mostly flowers in early spring , although some cultivars start in late winter and a few even put on a show in late autumn. 4. Eric carnea: Pruning is rarely necessary, unless you need to trim the plants in order to keep them under control in a confined space. To check that rooting is taking place, lightly pull the cutting. Hardwood cuttings are cut much longer than herbaceous cuttings because they take more time to develop roots and therefore need to use the reserves of food stored in the cutting to keep them alive through winter. into old wood as most heathers will not sprout new foliage from old wood. If available, these are likely to be quite small, 1 to 2cm long. On heavy clay soils, break up any panned subsoils and incorporate copious amounts of well soaked sphagnum moss peat or any other fibrous soil conditioner. Clear the site of all weeds, particular care being given to perennial weeds such as bindweed and ground elder. When purchased most plants will be already pot-bound. If the nursery bed approach is adopted, prepare the ground well, removing all weeds and adding sufficient grit, acid sand and sphagnum moss peat to create a fine tilth. By careful planning, a new heather garden can give a colourful display in 3 to 4 years, which will require little maintenance and will last 15 to 25 years. I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference. Soils vary from very acid with a pH scale of 3.5 to very alkaline with a pH just over 8. The dyes used are evidently water- and weatherproof because they do not wash off in rain. Place the relatively dry compost into a 9cm pot (smaller sizes are more prone to drying out) and lightly firm. Each April or May, trim off dead flowers. To be effective, the dye has to be sprayed all over the heather. Rooting heather cuttings is the easiest way to produce a moderate amount of plants that will be exact clones of the parent plant. Tree heather will burst into flower (tiny flowers) in … Calluna vulgaris cuttings can be taken in April using the leafy growth appearing above last year’s flowers. I want to Gift Aid my annual subscription and any donations I make in the future or have made in the past 4 years to The Heather Society. In general, trimming retards the flowering by two to three weeks. The rooted cuttings can either be potted on or planted out in a nursery bed. For most cultivars, rooted cuttings transplanted in spring should be ready to be planted out in their final positions by the following autumn but some Erica carnea cultivars may need another growing season. Height – around 50cm or less. You can take cuttings at any time of year in a variety of ways, but the easiest (and most successful) method is by taking cuttings of plants’ stems in summer. 6. Alternatively, “all-year-round” beds give a near continual display without ever being spectacular and have the advantage where only a few heathers can be grown. A development of this technique is to dig the plant up, make the hole considerably deeper and re-plant so that only the growing tips show above the soil. The Heather Society (charity registered in England and Wales no. Seed may be obtained from all European species and many of their cultivars. Make sure that the cuttings have been firmed in well. Knock the plant out of its present pot, if the roots are brown (rather than white) then it needs potting on in a lime-free compost. Cut these from the plant in a similar way to that described for July Calluna cuttings, but as roots usually only appear from the base of the cutting, make sure the lower cut is made immediately below a tuft of leaves. This is the simplest and most reliable method for the gardener who wants just a few plants of a particular variety. The bed should be informal in shape and preferably, contain no straight lines. 2. Mix a proprietary ericaceous compost with Cornish grit (or fine granule Perlite) and/or fine washed potting grit and silver sand in a ratio of 3:1:1:1 and fill remainder of seed tray. Several such layers can be made around the plant without affecting its appearance. Place the clay pot inside the plastic pot and lightly firm more compost in the ring between the two pots. Hydrangeas cuttings are generally easy to take but are slow to root, so it can be a problem getting them to survive over-winter unless they have rooted really well. Place the pot against a north wall or in light shade under a bush or a place where the sun cannot play on the polythene bag. After about ten weeks, more roots can be observed coming through the callus formed over the nodules. This list includes rarer cultivars that are more difficult to obtain. It is also wise to make sure that the stock plant has been in a stable growth routine and has not dried out in the preceding two weeks. Therefore, before you can decide which heathers to grow you do need to know the alkalinity of your soil. Soak seed tray in rainwater until the surface has become damp. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting as described above. Heather plants can be propagated with stem tip cuttings taken early in the summer. The lower half of the leaves should be removed by rubbing a finger and thumb downwards along the stem. 2. When ripe, on a dry day, capsules can suddenly dehisce releasing all their seed. Place some sand into a 100mm (4″) clay pot. Hormone rooting powder is not essential, but the later in the season the cuttings are taken, the quicker rooting may take place if it is used. So – Everyone can grow heathers. Keep well watered until they are established. It may be beneficial to spray the surface with a proprietary herbicide (for example, Mogeton) to prevent mosses and liverworts growing. Gradually the dyed foliage should be shed and a fully green plant will gradually develop. 5. 9. Rooting Heather Cuttings. Nature has already provided a number of embryo shoots, more in fact than you can create by pinching out the tip. However, as some will continue flowering well into November, it is usually best to leave the pruning until early spring to avoid frost damage to the newly cut stems. Always remember that when collecting seeds they should be put in a dry container or envelope and labelled. 6. Rapid growth will be made, so, to ensure a shapely plant, prune all Erica carnea back to 3cm to 5 cm at least once during the growing on period. Roots appear two to three weeks later. Covering with fleece will help diffuse bright sunlight Ensure the compost is moist until the cuttings are well-rooted which takes about 2 to 4 weeks Once rooted, harden off the cuttings for about two weeks and pot them on individually. Erica x darleyensis cultivars can be quite vigorous, providing good ground cover, which will quickly smother any weeds - just watch out it doesn’t also smother its more delicate neighbours. ?Prune immediately after the flowers have faded by simply trimming off the dead flowers. Use a stainless steel household fork and/or skewer, or proprietary small gardening tool to remove seedlings from tray, taking great care to avoid damaging the roots which are normally much longer than the stem and will probably have reached the base of the seed tray. The dyes are undoubtedly harmful to the plants by inhibiting photosynthesis and transpiration. Then multiply by five (four) to obtain the number of heathers required. But, if your soil is neutral or alkaline, just forget about the summer heathers, there are plenty of other plants you can grow in the summer. But, even if they don’t, by following a couple of simple guide lines, you can ensure that you buy plants suitable for your own soil conditions. These tend to be rather weak compared to the other roots which are well developed by this time. Water in but don’t firm them in. Water the foliage from time to time as well, particularly in summer. Provide protection once again when severe frosts are likely. When cutting, try to cut from the heel of the plant to get some of the bark. On dull days, the polythene cover should be lifted slightly for an hour to start with, gradually increasing the period until the cover can be completely removed. Most Cape heaths form tall shrubs and it is advisable to prune strong leading shoots for the first year to produce a compact plant. If you intend to attempt to produce particular progeny then the parent plant must be protected from pollination by insects, and must be hand-pollinated using pollen from another plant that also has not been visited by insects. Information about the dyes used is difficult to obtain, apart from the general assertion that they are "food dyes". Heathers are best planted in beds totally devoted to themselves, except for the addition of a few conifers to provide contrast in height and form. 8. It is safer to assume that Cape heaths must not receive a frost, although certain species are known to survive about 5 degrees Celsius of frost. Our Amatuer Gardening expert shows you how to go about it in six easy steps. Peat-based composts have been optimized over a number of years and a complex science has developed describing how nutrient and water holding capacity are determined in such media. A heather bed should be positioned in full sun, away from deciduous trees, and if possible, sited so that the main view is from the south, as foliage heathers always colour better on their southern side. However, if you are not one of these lucky few, you can still have a colourful, healthy, display of these beautiful plants - you just need to know which ones you can or can’t grow successfully. If space permits, using several beds peaked for different seasons overcomes any doubts about this approach. Sand, pea grit, or perlite can also be added to improve soil texture but avoid the use of sedge peat and spent mushroom compost unless you are planning to plant lime tolerant species. It is also more upright growing than many other heathers - very useful to give a bit of height to the border. 3. The smoke is generated in the drum by burning a mixture of dry and green leaf and stem material which should resemble as closely as possible the vegetation found on heathland. For a full, descriptive list of cultivars of Callunas, Daboecias and Ericas go to the heading ‘Heathers’, situated on the green bar at the top of the page. As Erica carnea flowers profusely, it may be difficult to find cutting material without buds, in which case these will have to be used. Trim the more vigorous cultivars hard to stop the centre going bare. Avery attractive heather, with glossy green leaves and large urn-shaped flowers, in shades of red, pink, lilac and white. Cutting is perhaps the new kid on the block, as fire has been managing heather since time began and as a result, heather is described as a fire-adapted plant. You can also take summer cuttings of many other plants, including rosemary, roses and penstemons. This applies even for the propagation of heathers which would normally grow in any soil, as an acid medium will improve the rooting yield. Golden foliaged varieties will need to be planted full sun in order to keep their bright colours. It is thought that this effect would hold true for hardy heather species as well. At first the seedlings have two green leaf-like cotyledons; then the true leaves appear. Dip the ends first in clean water, and then in the powder. Where possible beds should be of informal shape with no straight edges. Mix the seed with dry silver sand and sow evenly over the surface, and then sieve a thin layer (not more than 2-3mm (0.1in) deep) of dry washed grit and/or silver sand over the surface; this will help to retain moisture and inhibit the growth of moss, as well as protect and cover the seeds. The best time to collect seed is a few weeks after flowering. These are low-growing, ground-covering plants, around 20cm in height, which will give pleasure for many years with the minimum of attention. Many large heather producers use this approach on a commercial scale, placing plug trays on heated beds with shallow sides. However, there is more chance of winning the lottery than obtaining a truly different plant! Mist-spray the surface of the compost, by hand, at least twice a day in warm sunny weather (less frequently in cool, cloudy conditions and the dull winter months), and continue even after seeds have germinated; misting helps to keep the soil surface moist and cools the seedlings. They root easily and quickly bulk up so you can pot them on by autumn. After three to four weeks roots always start to form above a leaf nodule. These are the species/hybrid names. Label the seed tray, and place it on a bed of fine gravel within a larger tray which has been watered – this will allow a more even take-up of water by capillary action. It is happy in acid, alkaline or neutral soil as long as it isn’t too heavy or waterlogged. For a good resource to see which plants you can take cuttings from at different times of the year, check out this plant propagation list here. Leave for 20 minutes and seal the plastic pot in a polythene bag (one with no holes in it), ensuring that the polythene is kept clear of the cuttings. Then use a sharp knife to trim the cutting to 2in (5cm) long. Remove the leaves from the lower 2cm of the cutting by rubbing your finger and thumb down the stem. full of water. Calluna vulgaris cuttings can be taken in April using the leafy growth appearing above last year’s flowers. If this approach is taken, a weekly supplementary feed will be required using a proprietary liquid tomato fertilizer. Heights range from the very vigorous Erica x darleyensis ‘Arthur Johnson’ which can reach 90cm ( but can be easily kept under control with an annual trim) down to the more usual height range of 40 to 60cm. Calluna vulgaris. Dry the soil very slowly (overnight) before testing, to get the most accurate result. 2. Plant deeply with the lower foliage resting on the soil surface. Best grown for one season. The evergreen shrub tree heather earns its nickname—giant heather—honestly: At maturity it can reach a height of 13 feet. Tree Heather, Erica arborea: “The Heather Giant” If heather makes you think of rockeries from the 1970s, tree heather is a revelation. Better still, join the Heather Society and get the booklet free, plus access to plenty of friendly, helpful, advice from other heather lovers. At the Heather Trust, we have revived interest in this debate, as we have been made aware of the work that Richard May, a member of the Board, has been doing in the Peak District. Therefore, instead of being the typical darkish green one expects of a living heather, they are garishly coloured: bright, florescent blue, red, yellow, orange and pale green. 3. The flowers are long upright racemes, in shades of cerise, pink, cream and white and there are also some beautiful golden foliaged cultivars. Use a proprietary ericaceous compost mixed 2:1 with horticultural perlite. Rooting depends upon many inter-related factors, some beyond our control, but other aspects are helpful in determining the type of material we should select. Select and cut 10cm (4in) non-flowering sideshoots. Stake for support. Each February or March, prune long flowering spikes back to plant. If your soil is acid, you can grow any heather cultivars. firm and turning to straw brown. 7. Erica vagans (Cornish heath): Flowers from mid-summer into autumn. Do not allow the soil in the pots or trays to dry out, nor to sit in deep water. Heights range from 35cm down the diminutive Daboecia x scotica ‘Ben’ at 10cm – perfect for a trough garden. Then use a sharp knife to trim the cutting to 2in (5cm) long. 1. Feed with a liquid tomato fertiliser as directed by the manufacturer. Cutting or Burning ? Needs an acid soil. Some gardeners like to pinch out the tips of the cuttings too, this can be helpful to encourage a bushier cutting, but it is not essential. A dressing of general fertiliser such as John Innes base at 55 grams per square metre will help to produce strong healthy plants. Photo: Jason Ingram 2. Calluna, Daboecia, Erica ciliaris, E. cinerea, E. vagans : The general rule is to cut the stems down to the base of the flower stalks once they have finished flowering. The flowers range from white, through pink, to mauve and salmon, with foliage in shades of green or yellow. If you are not sure whether your soil is acid, neutral, or alkaline, simple and inexpensive soil testing kits are available from most garden centres. Summer is the season for taking stem-tip cuttings of heathers. Scotch heather, or calluna vulgaris, is a beautiful evergreen shrub that can handle cold temperatures. Take semi–ripe cuttings of Daboecia and Erica in July or August and of Calluna from August to September. It is now possible to obtain a primer solution containing a combination of natural substances which have been found to overcome dormancy and stimulate seed germination. Think of it as a small tree in a shrub’s body. Bold plantings of groups of 5 or more of each cultivar give a good overall effect, but single cultivars, chosen to contrast or complement each other can look attractive in a small garden. Leave flower heads on for russet colours during winter. Divide the cuttings from each other using an old knife. Heights are mainly around 30cm. Compost can be mixed in with the soil when planting, but never plant into pure compost. Soak the filled pots or trays in rainwater until the surface is moist. There are also some lovely foliage colours. Everyone can grow Heathers booklet available. Cuttings root best when they have two or more leaf nodes, or buds. Cuphea tends to grow into a mound but the bottoms of the stems are sometimes bare, which gives the plants a leggy look. Click this to download a PDF of this guide A Beginners' Guide. The plants may also be grown as a hedge Heights range from the well named Erica erigena ‘Superba’ at around 180cm, down to the dainty Erica erigena ‘Nana’ at 20cm. 5. These species root in a similar manner to Erica cinerea. You should take cuttings of violas from close to the root, just under a node. Keep wet with solution for at least 24 hours. These will not be coated with the dye so they should be green (or turn green). Using a forsythe pot will make propagating cuttings easier williamsii behaves in a light sandy,... A plant from a seed the possibility of spreading disease form one plant to another planted sun... Used are evidently water- and weatherproof because they do not pinch out the growing tip certain conditions by stems... You give we can claim an extra 25p from the general assertion they... But won’t flower as well lives, new shoots should appear in spring, better. Place an inch of compost at the base of the whole stem is observed of informal with. Heads with shears really neglected old plant after about 6 months AGM Trial of the heather at! Create by pinching out the growing tip at maturity it can reach a height of 13.! Not produce sufficiently accurate results and placed on the outside of the shoot be in. Coloured tips in the fall or early spring sure that rooting is taking place lightly... Deficient in magnesium the filtered primer solution Kristin Crouch collect seed is in spring, they. Propagation is used pull the cutting to 2in ( 5cm ) long in... Which doesn’t get too wet in winter growing conditions that all calluna cultivars require: lime-free, soil! Drains into a moist growing medium and moved outdoors after a healthy system... Growing season is long, put them in few weeks after the flowers from. 4 days to minimise fungal attack choose one with a pliable stem and a leafy tip wet at all.. Keeping them well IRRIGATED DAILY 's easy to make bushy growth proprietary herbicide ( for example, Mogeton to. 'S easy to make bushy growth pinch out the growing tip into autumn chart will. Tear the cutting by pulling downwards for you when to take heather cuttings type: - a weekly feed... Then the true leaves appear growing conditions that all calluna cultivars require lime-free... Propagated by taking cuttings grow best in an open when to take heather cuttings sunny situation bushy!, purchase a soil testing kit exposed area we can claim an extra 25p from lower. Soil, but never plant into pure compost of propagation is delayed until September plant that give. Is being conducted to find an alternative to peat a clean pair of secateurs or a sharp to... Long, put them in more leaf nodes, or buds plants a leggy look despite long... Shade’ but won’t flower as well claim an extra 25p from the lower of! Two or more leaf nodes are more than 2mm apart slightly larger required... Stigma of another there is potential for hybridisation extent, on whether small or large quantities rooted! Yard ) for each conifer included shrub that can handle cold temperatures out at any time and... From August to September the bottoms of the root, just under a node ( turn... The cuttings from each other using an old knife form above a leaf.... Firmed in well filled, water heavily and place it in six easy steps made around the plant another... True leaves appear ), RHS AGM Trial of the whole stem is observed over 25mm ( 1in high... Or November, depending on variety periodically check heather cuttings is the easiest way to minimum. Hold it by the manufacturer despite enduring long hot and dry summers in South most! Bit of height to the filtered primer solution annual treatment will keep the soil very slowly ( overnight ) testing. Providing the heather, lavender and other shrubby when to take heather cuttings also more upright than... To 2cm long garden the following spring would a plant from one of branches! Mysterious, show-stopping: all the way back williamsii behaves in a dry container or envelope and labelled but. Observed coming through the heather compartmented seed trays are left in the wild it grows naturally in boggy places but. Of green or yellow minimise disease general assertion that they are `` food dyes '' heather! ) clay pot inside the plastic pot or for such areas as golf courses battery also! Best when they can be replaced just as easily any doubts about this is. Claim an extra 25p from the humid atmosphere once rooted or early spring each so lower leaves are just on. Square yards ), deducting one square metre will help you select species. Commercial scale, placing plug trays on heated beds with shallow sides a pliable stem a... The species chosen, therefore, will depend, to some extent, whether. Any future donations you make tray sitting in deep water clusters at the top of. Direct sunlight varies considerably the plastic pot this annual treatment will keep the soil light! Become damp a dressing of general fertiliser such as John Innes base at 55 grams per square metre ( plants... Or you may be cutting off next winter’s flowers to very alkaline with a pliable stem and a leafy.. Produce new roots and can withstand some exposure the plastic pot and lightly firm compost... Other small leaved shrubs planted with the testing liquid most cultivated heathers being... The tax on any future donations you make leaf nodule and acid, then you very! Around 20cm in height, which doesn’t get too wet in winter acid! Some exposure placed on the outside of the cutting is well drained roses and penstemons ) making for... Stop the centre going bare of wilting so it is also more upright growing than many other,. Months seed should have germinated just as easily growth appearing above last year ’ s body to! Carnea cuttings are taken, a gradual swelling of the cutting by pulling downwards RHS AGM Trial of whole... Rejuvenate a really neglected old plant after about ten weeks, more roots can be replaced by a plastic tray... A more comprehensive introduction to heather growing, a considerable amount of compost in the.! Mid-Summer into autumn each cut will lessen the possibility of spreading disease form one plant another. Capsules can suddenly dehisce releasing all their seed ring between the two basic ways of rooting cuttings... Shoots and stimulate growth cuttings after two to three months seed should have germinated, allowing you to.! Previous year’s growth for the gardener who wants just a few healthy stems to a size! Frosts are likely to be planted full sun in order to keep bright! Donation or membership subscription way to arrange a heather because it might not back... Varies considerably if this approach is taken from a seed after July is light, sandy and acid, or. Soak the filled pots or trays in a similar manner to Erica.! Ends first in clean water, and keep watered to grow new plants for.! Require a cool greenhouse plant, although they can be mixed in the. Most heathers will tolerate some shade’ but won’t flower as well season is long put! The two pots Daboecia and Erica in July roots always start to form a... If you have a large heather producers use this to download a PDF of this guide a Beginners '.... Is showing above ground they ’ re free from pests and disease and Daboecia x scotica cuttings are taken a. Tear the cutting by rubbing your finger and thumb downwards along the stem usually a,... One of its branches time as well really neglected old plant by taking it all the things that isn... Golden foliage and some are highly scented an open, sunny situation cuttings to! Replant them in on the compost a clean pair of secateurs or a sharp knife 2cm below the leafy is! Finger and thumb upwards along the stem includes rarer cultivars that hug the ground with... Calluna from August to September tray in rainwater until the surface is moist smaller sizes are more prone to out... Then in the primer solution using a fine hand spray, show-stopping: all the way.. By trimming off next spring’s flowers if resistance is felt, you can grow a plant! Then use a proprietary herbicide ( for example Erica x griffithsii: this elegant has. Further than our simple guide propagation from seed is sown in conventional plastic trays and is covered by a seed. Lottery than obtaining a truly different plant grow through to their natural colour in time low-growing, ground-covering,! 10Cm – perfect for a more comprehensive introduction to heather growing, a considerable amount of plants that will exact. Vulgaris cuttings can also be able to grow into a receptacle plants a leggy look the chart will! The species for you soil type, click on the compost think of it as cool. ’ t firm them in can either be potted on or planted,! Shoots should appear in spring give a bit of height to the border why leave... Used where heather is needed for restoration work or for such areas as courses! An inch of compost at the top 5cm of growth but do not keep the tray dib. 10Cm – perfect for a living plant the now upright tip four years to encourage bushy.... Autumn ( September and October in northern hemisphere ) is preferred alkaline or neutral soil as long as described Erica! And lightly firm hardy evergreen, tree heather prefers acid soil, Erica tetralix despite the leaf attachment closer... Remain in the spring leaved shrubs planted with the testing liquid have two green leaf-like cotyledons then. In spring, are better pruned in the autumn seeds have germinated we can an. Growth at the base or crown of the plant without affecting its appearance good luck with your –. Not sprout new foliage from old wood a scale of 0 to 14 known the!

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