Position: Full sun
Flowering period: Summer to autumn
Soil: Moist, well drained
Eventual Height: 60cm
Eventual Spread: 60cm
Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
Erica vagans is an evergreen shrub with a bushy, decumbent or erect habit. Its leaves held in whorls , lanceolate, triangular in section, up to 1cm long an 2mm across. Its branches are glabrous and green when young, becoming brown with age. Its fragrant white/ pink flowers are bell shaped to tubular, small and appear in dense panicles.
Erica vagans, commonly known as Cornish Heath, is native to western Europe, including the UK, France and Spain. In its native habitat it grows in raised bogland.
The etymological root of the binomial name Erica is derived from the Ancient Greek ἐρείκη (ereíkē) meaning ‘heath’. Vagans is from the Latin meaning ‘wandering’.
The landscape architect may find Erica vagans useful as an attractive summer and autumn flowering shrub suitable for acid soils. Once established this shrub is relatively drought tolerant.
Ecologically, Erica vagans is attractive to pollinating insects, including butterflies and bees.
The Royal Horticultural Society have given six cultivars of this species their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993; Erica vagans f. alba ‘Cornish Cream’, Erica vagans f. alba ‘Kevernensis Alba’, Erica vagans f. alba ‘Lyonesse’, Erica vagans f. aureifolia ‘Valerie Proudley’, Erica vagans ‘Birch Glow’ and Erica vagans ‘Mrs D.F. Maxwell’.
Erica vagans prefers moist well drained soils. It prefers an acid to neutral pH of soil and will not tolerate alkaline soils. It will tolerate nutritionally poor soils.
Erica vagans requires little maintenance.