I have a high regard for shrubs which colour well in the autumn, and for this reason include Disanthus cercidifolius in my select list. A shrub of medium height, it prefers rather than tolerates a position in semi-shade, and a moisture-retentive but not waterlogged soil.
Ultimately a mature specimen will grow to 5 ft. in height, the bushes in my garden average a neat, well-furnished 40 in. Propagation is best effected by means of seed which germinate with greater alacrity when they have passed through the digestive tract of a bird. Otherwise they need to stratify for 12 months.
A sheltered location, and moist yet free-draining soil is essential in my experience, but this is a shrub which will grace the best site the garden can offer. It can be propagated by seed sown in a warm greenhouse in spring.
Like the calluna, the species and varieties contained within this genus bid fair to exceed in numbers the wondrous hoards of the Khan. For soils which contain any hint of lime only Erica carnea, E. x. darleyensis, E. mediterranea, whose varieties offer a wide choice but limited flowering season, and of course E. terminalis, which flowers in June, are suitable. In planning a heather garden make the lines flow in long informal curves exactly as for calluna, preparing the soil to receive them in the same way.
The evergreen E. pungens has obligingly sported to give several forms with very attractive coloured leaves. Dicksonii with leaves laced a deep gold makes a spreading bush and a very good background to Vincaminor Bowles variety.