Heather Care

All About Heather and What it Needs to Grow

Heather and heath need acidic soil (ph levels of 5 or 6); moist soil (but not soggy); sunshine (they can thrive in light shade but if too shady, the blooms will be scarce and spikes leggy); they will grow in rocky poor soil in less than ideal conditions.  Heather is not drought tolerant, so if your area has water shortages, this is not the best choice for your garden.   Heather doesn’t do well in a windy locations either, but if planted where they have protection from the wind, they will thrive.  Snow is heather’s friend; but the biggest enemy of the heather garden is extreme cold (20 degrees or less for numerous days).

Heather can be planted near some trees if they still get adequate sun and nutrients.  Do not plant heather beneath maple, beech, cedar, spruce or hemlock because those trees have unique root systems designed to grab the moisture and nutrients out of the soil before plants around them can get it.  The heather garden won’t stand a chance under one of these trees!

Overall, heather gardens have few problems.  Yellow leaves are a sign that the ph of the soil lacks enough acidity for the plants.  The heather garden has few pests but they can be susceptible to powdery mildew (especially if the plants are crowded and lack air flow).  If your see powdery mildew in your heather garden, it can be corrected with a fungicide or an organic solution.  Check with your nursery for how and when to use them for which cultivar of heather and health.

All About Heather and Critters in Your Garden

Deer and other critters graze on the tips of heather, but the plant can take a bit of that (nature’s way of pruning perhaps).  Avid heather gardeners report that most dear browse or nibble heather to a small degree but the real damage to heather from deer comes from trampling the plants.  They advise gardeners to watch the deer in their area and observe their usual path and don’t plant heather near their trails.

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