The Daboecia cantabrica, the Heather of Saint-Daboec

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Daboecia cantabrica is a heather, slightly different from its cousins. It benefits from a summer flowering in bells in pink, purple or white. It grows both on the coast and in the mountains.

In summary what you need to know :

Scientific nameDaboecia cantabrica
Vernacular names : Heather of Saint-Daboec or Heather of Ireland
Family : Ericaceae

Type : Perennial sub-shrub
Height : 50 cm
Exposure : Sun
Soil : Well-drained, acid

Foliage : Evergreen – Flowering : From June to September

  • Read also : Bruyère, colors from summer to winter

Plantation of Saint-Daboec heather

In its natural environment, Daboecia cantabrica grows on sunny moors in humid regions . It forms a very interesting ground cover with a rather low habit.

Daboecia in the ground

Saint-Daboec heather can be planted either in autumn , ideally in October, or in spring , between April and May.

  • It likes sunny situations and heat, essential to obtain an intense and colorful flowering. Hardy down to -18°C, it can grow just as well in mountainous regions as on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts.
  • It needs an acid soil (the aptly named heather soil), remaining fresh, well-drained and humus-rich . On the other hand, the soil can be just as well sandy as loamy or peaty. Above all, Daboecia cantabrica fears calcareous soils or dry soils, or very heavy clay soils.

As a plant with a low, creeping habit , this summer-flowering variety of heather does well as a ground cover in a rockery or an embankment, or even on the edge of beds of plants or shrubs of heather soil .

How to plant it?

  • Dig a hole 30 cm by 30 cm
  • Soften the bottom
  • Mix the extracted garden soil with heath soil, and sand if the soil is too heavy
  • Take the heather out of the pot and dishevel the root ball
  • Cut the roots that are too long
  • Place the clod in the hole and cover with the soil mixture
  • Water abundantly and mulch.

potted daboecia

This original heath also grows very well in pots provided you provide it with a substrate perfectly suited to its needs. As it is a plant that likes acidic soils, provide it with a substrate composed of heather soil and potting soil . Pure heather earth will not suit it because it does not benefit from good water retention.

Plant your Daboecia in a sufficiently large and deep pot and don’t forget the layer of clay pebbles at the bottom.

What maintenance for Daboecia cantabrica ?

Whether in pots or in the ground, the Daboecia needs a little attention, even if, once established, it is particularly resistant.

  • It likes soil that stays cool so watering is essential , at least the first two years. If the weather is dry, water once or twice a week . Indeed, a young plant will die very quickly if the substrate is too dry. If your Daboecia is grown in a pot on a balcony or terrace, water two to three times a week to keep the soil in the pot moist. Water only with rainwater at room temperature (the Daboecia really fears limestone)
  • If you didn’t do this at planting, install a thick mulch to maintain coolness
  • At the end of flowering, it is advisable, to keep a compact and dense tuft, to cut back the plant by a third .
  • The addition of fertilizer or fertilizer is not necessary, the Daboecia being a frugal plant.

To know about this very decorative heather

Daboecia Cantabrica is an ornamental heather appreciated for its flowering in large bells, available in different shades of pink, but also white, violet or purple . Flowering generally begins in June and continues until September-October . Particularly melliferous, the flowers, gathered in clusters, attract a crowd of foraging and pollinating insects.

The flowers emerge from an evergreen, fine and leathery foliage. Colored dark green on the upper side, the leaves have a light down on the underside. As for the twigs, they are covered hairy and prostrate, which does not allow the plant to grow taller than 50 cm.

Originally from Ireland where it still grows wild, Daboecia cantabrica was found throughout Eastern Europe in moors, cliffs or at the edge of woods. The regrouping made it little by little disappear. It is also a protected plant in certain regions of France, where it can still be found in the Basque Country.

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