Alphabetical Plant Listing

How to Grow and Care for Heaths and Heathers

How to grow Heath, How to grow Heather, Gardening with Heaths and Heathers


Evergreen, Heaths (Erica) and Heathers (Calluna vulgaris) are terrific plants that deserve a spot in the garden. Their fabulous ability to change color year-round, injecting vivid life into our landscape at a time when they need it most, is invaluable. Low maintenance, deer or salt resistant, winter hardy, drought tolerant (once established) and fairly easy to grow, they do not require much: decent drainage and some sunshine.

Heath and Heathers: Planting

  • All heathers grow nicely in acid soil similarly to rhododendrons, azaleas. If your soil is alkaline, adding peat moss will help to achieve an ideal pH of 4.5 to 5.5.
  • Space heaths and heathers as far apart as their mature width and at least 2 ft. (60 cm) away from other shrubs to ensure good air circulation. This is important for good foliage growth and color
  • Dig a hole about twice as wide as the root ball and half again as deep.
  • Make vertical cuts the length of the root ball and across the bottom. Break up the roots and work in some soil.
  • Water the plant once or twice a week when the soil is dry throughout the first season. The soils should be moist but not soggy. This will encourage rapid and vigorous growth of the plants. Once established, the plants are drought tolerant and rarely need watering.
  • Mulch heathers after planting.

Erica x darleyensis 'Ghost Hills'

Erica x darleyensis 'Arthur Johnson'

Erica x darleyensis 'Kramer's Red'

Click here to compare all Heath and Heather varieties

Heath and Heathers: Pruning

  • Summer bloomers: Pruning is essential and should occur in late fall or early spring, below the old flowers on the branch. Round and shape the plant.
  • Winter bloomers: Shear lightly in spring, immediately after blooming. If your plants die out in the center, shearing will keep them alive and growing.

Calluna vugaris 'Aphrodite'

Calluna vugaris 'Firefly'

Calluna vugaris 'Dark Beauty'

Click here to find Garden Ideas with Heath and Heather

Heath and Heathers: Fertilizer

Fertilizer is not necessary and may even be harmful to heathers. Heaths and heathers actually like poor soil. If the plants are not thriving, use a low rate of fertilizer for acid-loving evergreen plants.

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 5 - 7
Climate Zones 1A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Erica and Calluna
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Edging, Ground Covers, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden
Compare All Erica and Calluna Great Plant Combination Ideas with Erica and Calluna Guides with Erica and Calluna

/ 123RF Stock Photo

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 8
Heat Zones 5 - 7
Climate Zones 1A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Erica and Calluna
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Landscaping Ideas Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Edging, Ground Covers, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden
Compare All Erica and Calluna Great Plant Combination Ideas with Erica and Calluna Guides with Erica and Calluna

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