Companion Plant For A Crimson Fall Blooming Heather - Knowledgebase Question

Woodinville, WA
Question by vickim9
January 30, 2004
What do you recommend for a companion plant for a crimson fall blooming heather over a long rockery (5' tall x40' long)? I currently have a rockery that is topped with very mature crimson fall blooming heather. The bloom is spectacular. In between the clumps of heather is smattered very mature juniper plants that are now dead. I need to replace the juniper plants and am considering either Little Rascal Holly or Enchantress Pink Indian Hawthorne.

I believe the fall foliage of the Holly would set off the heather well and I like the low maintenance. However I am concerned that the height and texture does not differ adequately for a striking companion plant.

The Indian Hawthorne looks like a better choice for striking differences and I like the extended bloom season. I don't know if I need to trim off the dead blooms though -- I really don't want the maintenance.

I also plan to add in a few dwarf mugo pines for contrast. I'm looking for an opinion from those with an eye for this. I need to make my decision this week.

Answer from NGA
January 30, 2004


Rhaphiolepis (Indian Hawthorn) would be my choice for the area. The blooms give way to dark blue fruit (so no deadheading required). Birds like the fruit and what they don't consume will remain on the plant throughout the winter, which will bring an additional element of interest to the plantings. Rhaphiolepis is reasonably maintenance-free but you may want to trim it back every few years. They are considered low-growing but mature plants can eventually creep up to 4 or 5' in height. The smallest variety (2-4' tall) is 'Ballerina'. The foliage of this one takes on a reddish tinge in the winter. Coupled with Mugo pines and your heather, Indian Hawthorn will make a spectacular planting with year 'round interest.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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