Caring For Heather

Heathers like moist, but not boggy, soil. Add peat moss or other types of humus to their soil to increase its moisture holding capacity, while taking care that it drains well. Heathers need extra water when they are first planted and just before the ground freezes for the winter. If rainfall is sparse during the growing season, water these plants every week or 10 days. In times of drought be sure the ground is soaked down to at least 10 inches. Run a dripping hose or irrigation system for about 30 minutes each watering session. Spread a layer of organic material as a mulch to retard evaporation of water from the soil.
For more information see file About Watering Equipment.

Do not fertilize heathers. They must have poor, infertile soil. This forces them to send roots deeply into the soil for water and nutrients that is beneficial to the plant.
For more information see file About Fertilizers.

A 2 or 3 inch layer of some attractive organic material spread on the soil around the heather plants will help hold moisture in the soil and keep down weeds. Use chopped leaves, wood chips, dried grass, pine needles or similar materials.
For more information see file on Using Mulch.

Those heathers which grow too tall or too fast often benefit from a spring shearing or mowing to make them more compact. It will also remove any stems killed over the winter and help to shape each plant. Trimming after bloom, should happen in the fall. Trimming is not recommend.
For more information see files on Pruning Shrubsand Hedges and Choosing Pruning Tools.

Winter Protection
Heather planted in the more northern areas of its range or in sites exposed to harsh winter wind and sunshine need some protection over the winter. A mulch of pine boughs, hay or straw, laid loosely over the plants will help them withstand winter conditions.
For more information see file on Winter Protection For Plants.

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