Sowing And Growing The Heather Plant

Imagine going home this Autumn to a lush garden of splendid blooms swaying gracefully to the wind. Wouldn’t it be great to behold such a scene? Then, you will be happy to hear that such a scene is easily created with the heather plant.

About The Heather Plant:

Heather plants are evergreens of low-growing, branching shrubs. They change colour year-round into gorgeous flowering expanses. With such vivid and lively display of colours, heathers are perfect for adding charm and beauty to your landscapes. The heather plant is a native of Ireland. It is known for its high yielding capacity as it produces seeds in very large numbers. Its flower has 30 seeds, producing up to 150,000 seeds per season. Heathers can grow to about 60 cm tall and 60-90 cm wide.

The heather plant is a popular choice among gardeners due to its numerous attractive qualities. It is low maintenance, salt resistant, winter hardy and once established, drought tolerant. One doesn’t need to be a "pro" to plant the heather plant, as they are easy to grow. Simply ensure they have access to drainage and sunshine, and voila!

Heather Plant

Types of Heather:

There are many different types of heather plants. It is good to be able to differentiate them so you plant the right heather for the right season.

Heath is commonly confused with heather. Heaths are generally smaller at about 30 cm tall and 45 cm wide.

1. Erica (Heath and Winter Heath)

  • Erica is a finely textured heather. It is generally soft and fluffy, with a range of summer and winter-blooming types. You can choose from a range of cheerful and bright blooms, to add a splash of colour to your garden. When carefully selected, some of its winter flowers can delight you from November - May.

2. Daboecia (Irish Heath)

  • Daboecia is of a neat habit, being both stiff and fluffy. Its foliage is of a rich green colour with flowers in lavender, magenta and white hues. These are the easiest to blend into any type of garden and grow well in partial shade or full sun. This heather produces big, bell-shaped flowers and blooms during spring through late fall. It looks great near water features or in woodland settings. 

3. Calluna (Scotch Heather)

  • Calluna allows for a more playful presentaion with an abundance of plant shape and foliage colour. The foliage colours admirably shifts as seasons move from spring and onto winter. These heathers are ideal for creating impressive and unique combinations as they bloom at the end of summer and early autumn. They are perfect for adding a lush vibe when most summer perennials have paused flowering.

Where To Plant Heather:

Heather does not require much in order to grow. However, in order to grow heather at its best, we recommend following the below guidelines.

  • Plant heather in acidic soil, ideal pH is from 4.5 to 5.5. Mix the soil with peat moss, compost or processed manure. Ensure the soil is well-drained as heather will not tolerate continuous wet feet.
  • Heather plants should be planted far apart. This will allow for good foliage growth and colour as they mature.
  • Sun exposure is important for heather plants. If you want rich foliage colours, exposure to the sun helps bring out the colours.
  • Plant heathers in a hole about twice as wide and half as deep, as the root ball. Create vertical cuts across the length of the root ball and across its bottom. Work in some soil as you encourage the roots to spread. Be careful not to pile mulch up over the root system. Firm the soil around the plant and water-in.
  • Plant heathers in areas protected from cold and harsh winter winds so they won’t suffer dehydration.
Garden Bed Full of Heather

Heather Care Tips:

Heather is a low maintenance plants. Once established, these plants rarely need watering and are drought tolerant. Here are some easy ways to keep your heather cared for:

  • Provide the plants with good drainage. Build a raised bed for clay soil or a modest berm for boggy soil.
  • Water the plants twice a week, for the first few months. Doing so will encourage rapid and vigorous growth to establish the plants.
  • Apply a mulch of your choice after planting. Ideally, an acidic one such as peat moss, leaf mould or pine straw.
  • The plant thrives well in poor soil. Do not fertilize the soil.
  • Prune heather regularly. For summer blooms, prune in late autumn or early spring. For winter blooms, shear lightly in spring immediately after blooming. Prune the plany below the old flowers on the branch.

Plants are a wonderful addition to any home and garden. It is not too late to enjoy a vivid display of colours and shapes in your landscape this Autumn. With an abundance of varieties to choose from, heather plants may just be the perfect addition to your garden. Bring in a cheerful and charming vibe to the season with this easy-to-grow and low maintenance plant.

Do you have questions on the perfect heather for your garden this autumn? Don’t hesitate to contact your local store where one of our helpful and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have.