Erica Cerinthoides ~ Fire Red Hairy Heath ~ Stunning Tropical Shrub ~ 10 Tiny Rare Seeds ~
Erica cerinthoides is an extremely variable species over its distribution range. It varies particularly in growth habit, hairiness of leaves and flowers, and in size, shape and colour of its flowers. Erica cerinthoides is one of a few ericas that resprout from a woody rootstock after fire. The result is the production of clusters of lovely inflated, tubular, red flowers at the ends of short branches, which form neat, colourful shrublets in a bleak burnt landscape. Fire thus keeps this plant in good healthy condition and will stimulate flowering at any time of the year. After a number of years they will grow taller, become straggly and produce fewer flowers. Plants from the southern Cape are known to grow taller than those from other areas. They have been recorded to grow over 1.5m tall if they are not burnt. These specimens may become very woody and devoid of foliage save for at the very ends of their branches where a few leaves and depauperate flowers may be found. Any plant with such a wide distribution has distinct advantages over those confined to a narrow range. Erica cerinthoides is a tough, well tempered plant that grows easily in different parts of South Africa, and may be expected to survive for a long time in the garden. They require well drained acidic soils (ideal pH between 5.5 and 6.7), and a sunny position. They are suitable for flat beds, or rockeries and do very well in containers where they can be kept compact and well shaped by pruning after flowering. Erica cerinthoides is not hardy to severe frost, but should resprout if damaged by frost. The showy red flowers will attract bird pollinators to the garden.
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