Ericaceous, or acid loving plants (plants that thrive in a soil pH of 7, neutral, and below over a bedrock of sandstone in our region), will brighten up part shady locations with a dazzling display of mainly Spring flowers.
Most deciduous ericaceous plants, such as Japanese Maples, will also provide you with more brilliant colour than most other trees and shrubs as the leaves fall in Autumn.
Below are seven of my favourites. Plant them in ericaceous compost and feed in March with an ericaceous feed. All are available in stock now.
1. Skimmia japonica ‘Fragrant Cloud’: Compact evergreen shrub 90cm x 90cm. Lime green buds throughout Winter open to single white flowers in March/April. Attractive to bees.
2. Pieris japonica ‘Forest Flame’: Evergreen shrub with small white bell shaped flowers followed by brilliant red young foliage in Spring. Will thrive in a sheltered location in part shade. Height and spread 2m x 2m in 10 years.
3. Azalea japonica ‘Geisha Orange’: Evergreen shrub producing unusual orange flowers during May/June. Height and spread 70cm x 70cm.
4. Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’: Evergreen dwarf Rhododendron 1m x 1m. Coral pink buds open to white flowers which produce an exquisite scent.
5. Camellia x williamsii ‘Jury’s Yellow’: White peony shaped flowers with a pale yellow centre, contrasts well against glossy evergreen foliage. Height and spread 2m x 1.5m in 10 years. Can tolerate neutral soil types. Avoid planting in an east facing aspect.
6. Kalmia latifolia ‘Minuet’ (Calico Bush): Compact evergreen shrub 1m x 1m. Pink buds open to unusual white flowers with distinctive maroon coloured bands in late Spring.
7. Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Inaba Shidare’: Graceful weeping Japanese Maple with finely cut burgundy coloured leaves throughout Summer which turn spectacularly red in Autumn. Height and spread 2.5m x 2.5m.
Did you know that mophead and lacecap Hydrangeas are good pH (potential of Hydrogen) soil indicators? Generally pink flowers mean that the soil pH reading is alkaline (bedrock chalk). Those that flower blue/purple mean that the soil pH reading is probably acidic. Soil pH testing kits are available now from our shop.
To keep your plants in tip top condition, feed them regularly with a balanced fertiliser. For Ericacious plants we recommend Miracle-Grow Azalea, Camellia, Rhododendron Plant Food.