Tassel Heath

Tassel Heath

Erica coccinea

Scientific name

A variable heath with hanging tubular flowers in a variety of colours. Pollinated by sunbirds

Propagation instructions

By seed

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.

By cutting

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.

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

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Important characteristics

Conservation status: Least Concern

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

This nectar-rich species attracts sunbirds and sugarbirds

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