My Blah Mediterranean Pink

valentinetbear(z6 PA)March 25, 2007

Last Spring I bought the most beautiful Mediterranean Pink -- the low evergreen kind -- that's suppost to have nothing but tiny pink flowers on every single needle from September - May, and looks like a low lying pine bush during the other half of the year. When I bought it, it was fully in pink bloom, and I happily replanted it in a huge -- 25-30" wide round - container out front, sharing its space with two other brand new "plants," a stick that is turning into a Dwarf Lilac bush eventually (it grew during the summer, and is starting to bud now) and the cutest little Jasmine tree/bush (no specific variety was given, but the purplish buds turning into pinwheel-shaped white 1" flowers, makes me think it's a false Jasmine, since it's winter hardy this far north), that by the end of the summer had the shape of a two branched forsythia "bush." Just trying to show I didn't crowd it in with other huge plantings.

Also, it's out front near my steps, on a northbound street, so it gets sun in the winter for about 6-7 hours per day. When I prepared the container, I added a thin layer of those water crystals that expand greatly when watered, about 12-18" down, so the roots of any of those plants would want to grow deep, if they were thirsty, and I kept an eye on it all winter, making sure to water it in the morning, if it would be above 35 degrees all day, and no rain or snow was in the immediate forecast. (I even Miracle-Gro fertilized it in the beginning of January, when we had a week of 60s-72 degree patch of beautiful warm days.)

Now, truthfully, I am not a good gardener -- used to have nothing but black thumbs, even able to kill air plants, but I've been reading and reading and reading to learn enough to get my thumbs between a muddy brown and green. LOL

I mean, I'm so proud of myself, because my pink is healthier looking then the woman, who had one in front of her house, that gave me the desire to buy my own. (She over crowded hers with surface rooting plants like pansies, so they were competing for nutrient.) Mine is still better looking then hers, however, it isn't even a third as pretty as it was last Arpil when I bought it -- kinda like the pink, even when the flowers first started blooming just didn't have the energy to go vivid, and the branches are stretching upward, as if the whole thing seems to think, if it can rise high enough, it can get what it needs. (Sad considering, at best, it will only grow two feet high.)

Now, I've researched what could be wrong, but there are no trees near it to block sun, nor to continually drip rain or snow onto it. The soil was brand new, so will need compost in a month, but this poor plant has looked tired ever since last September, right when it was supposed to start blooming.

Sorry for being so long winded, but, well, I am, and it's early enough in the season, I'm hoping everyone else up here in northern country is just coming back here to visit and dream, so don't mind me being this long.

Any ideas how to make my poor Pink get in the pink? Or, since it's season for flowering is almost over anyway, I'll accept just ideas on how to make it healthy and happy looking. (It's OK with a baby Dwarf lilac and a small false Jasmine, isn't it? Thanks.

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I'm not sure what to tell you, other than heaths and heathers are not ideal container plants :-( And Med Pink gets to be a big, robust heath. Can you place it in the ground somewhere? As much sun as you can manage in very well drained, organically rich soil. Erica x darleyensis is not as fussy about soil pH as some other winter heaths but would prefer slightly acidic soil. Don't allow it to dry out in summer.

And that bloom time is a bit optimistic - it is a winter flowering variety and in my climate is generally in bloom in early December (weather depending) until April or so. Cut back after blooming.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 9:20PM
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valentinetbear(z6 PA)

Ack! Knew I was going to miss something important, as I explained the problem. I forgot to mention it was the type of bush that doesn't get any bigger then 1' X 2', or 2' X 1'. (Can't remember, although it seems higher then wider.) That's one of the reasons why I picked this particular type for that container, so it wouldn't out grow it, or ever feel particularly crowded in.

And, nope, my "yard" is nothing but concrete. Sidewalk out front where the Pink is, and 16' X 16' slab of concrete for a back yard. Good thing, I've grown to prefer container gardening. LOL

Since I use containers, I'm also mindful that the plants need more water then plants grown in the ground, so it looked good all last summer and fall, even though you're right, it didn't start flowering until December.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 10:07AM
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Don't necessarily believe everything you read about plant sizes :-) Mature specimens of Med Pink (and there is only one Mediterranean Pink, although many different varieities of heaths and heathers) in my area are easily 3-4 feet across and 2-3 feet high. Plants do not stop growing at some pre-designated size, although growth will slow significantly as they mature.

If no ground to plant in, perhaps you might give it its own container? Shearing back after flowering will help keep it compact and produce more flowering stems.And if you opt for Miracle Gro, I'd suggest Miracid or MG for Acid Lovers as they call it now. Other winter heaths are available that offer more intensely pink - even magenta - flowers and will remain a bit more compact as well.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 11:31AM
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valentinetbear(z6 PA)

Oh! Thanks for the added info!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 1:43PM
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