Heaths and Heathers

April 14, 2013 12:00 am heather




Choosing a Site:

Heathers grow best in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Plants will perform best if planted in well drained acidic soil. Soil in the Willamette Valley can be improved by adding an acid planning mix to the soil prior to planting.



Prepare a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball. Partially fill the hole with acid planting mix or compost. The hole should be the same depth as planted by the nursery. Heathers have very shallow root systems, so be sure not to plant too deep. Score or scratch the root ball to loosen up the roots so the plant will establish easier. On an average, Heaths and Heathers should be planted 2-3 ft. apart.


After Planting Care:

Never let the plants dry out. This is a recipe for disaster, especially for newer plantings. Water deeply at least once a week. Remove any weeds carefully. Be careful with weed killers as they easily damage the heathers and heaths as well. Mulching is beneficial in the winter months, but be sure to keep mulch away from the stems and crowns.



Pruning should be done after each flowering period or very early in the spring. Be careful not to prune too far down. There needs to be green leaves under your pruning cut or that section will not grow back. Pruning in the fall or winter will cause the plants to split and create holes.



Fertilization is almost always helpful. A light application of acid-loving, slow release fertilizer in the early spring is ideal. Fertilizers should be granular and not applied to the foliage. It is best to sprinkle the fertilizers around the base of the plants about 2” from the stems. 

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