Cutflower Nomenclature

Scientific/Botanical Name:

Genus: Erica



English Name:


Common Name:

"heath" and "heather"

Botanical Family:

Name in Latin: Ericaceae

Name in English: The Heath or Heather Family

The Plant

Origin: At least 660 of the species are endemic to South Africa, and these are often called the Cape heaths, forming the largest genus in the fynbos. The remaining species are native to other parts of Africa, Madagascar, the Mediterranean region, and Europe.

Growth Habit: small shrubs, evergreen

Flower: Flowers are sometimes axillary, and sometimes in terminal umbels or spikes, and are usually outward or downward facing.

Blooming Period: spring/fall

Leaf: minute needle-like leaves 2–15 mm long.


greenhouse, landscape, houseplant

Care and Handling

Soil: Erica species are mainly calcifugous, being limited to acidic or very acidic soils – from dry, sandy soils to extremely wet ones such as bog. Use a good (a soil that retains water yet drains well) rich potting soil, require an acid soil.

Amount of water: Drench the soil and let it become moderately dry between waterings. Use warm water.

Nutrition: Feed monthly spring through fall with a water soluble fertilizer diluted by half. An alternative is a granular slow release fertilizer if applied annually in the early spring.

Special handling: plants will give disappointing results in a centrally heated room. In hot, dry air the leaves drop very rapidly, so only choose an Erica for display in winter if you can provide a cool and well-lit spot.

Special feature/remarks:

a genus of approximately 860 species of flowering plants. Average warmth. Keep cool in winter - minimum 45-50 F. Well-lit but away from direct sunlight. Grow in well-drained, acidic soil.