Scientific nameA variable heath with hanging tubular flowers in a variety of colours. Pollinated by sunbirds
Erica coccinea is easily grown from seed. Sow in late summer to autumn (March-May), in well-drained sandy soil. Keep warm and moist. Treatment with Instant Smoke Plus Seed Primer will enhance germination. Use a well-drained, acidic medium. Because the seed is so fine it needs only a light covering of clean sand, or the seeds can be mixed with dry sand and the layer of seed and sand spread in a thin layer on top of the sowing medium. Water with a fine rose to avoid displacing the seeds. Keep the trays damp but not wet and out of direct sun in a warm, but not hot, situation. Germination takes 1 to 2 months. Transplant the seedlings when they are about 10 mm high. Grow on in light shade until they are established.
Take semi-hardwood heel cuttings in late summer, autumn or spring. Treat with a rooting hormone suitable for semi-hardwood cuttings. Place in well-aerated medium, under mist on heated benches (24°C). Pot the rooted cuttings in a well-drained, acidic soil medium and harden off in light shade for a month or two. Although the species can be propagated by cuttings, because of its short, dense branching habit, it is often difficult to find suitable branches to use. Look for bushes in more shady positions where the growth is more elongated. At Kirstenbosch, we almost always propagate this erica by seed.
We are in need of this species! Can you help? Maybe you have this species at home, or perhaps you can collect seeds or cuttings (if applicable) from friends or from a public space. If so, why don't you help establish this species in areas where it is much needed!
Conservation status: Least Concern
This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.
Easy to grow
Suitable for clay soil
It provides food for:
Southern double-collared sunbird