Heather plants for ground cover

Heathers are low-growing, hardy evergreen perennial shrubs which thrive in acidic soils in open sunny locations or partial shade, making them well suited for use as ground cover plants in these situations. They are the dominant plants in most heathlands and moorlands in Europe with flower colours spanning whites, pinks and a wide range of purples and reds. Heathers are best planted deeply in 'waves' of 5-7 of each variety. As a rough planting guide, 4 plants per square metre will give adequate coverage within a few years once they’ve had chance to build out, 6 plants per square metre will give faster results or, for maximum coverage from day 1, you can plant up to 9-12 heathers per square metre. In smaller gardens, heathers can also be planted in individual varieties, best chosen so the colours contrast or compliment each other. There are two varieties - Calluna and Erica. Calluna has small scale-like leaves carried in opposite pairs, whereas Erica's foliage is more needle-like and borne in whorls. Both are brilliant for bringing a natural feel and splash of colour to your garden. For dramatic yellow foliage consider Calluna Aurea, Erica Golden Starlet or Erica Foxhollow. Choose Erica Silberschmelze or Erica White Perfection for white flowers, Erica Ghost Hills for yellow flowers or Erica R B Cooke for the deepest of the pink-flowering varieties.

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