Fertilizing Heather

Do Heathers need to be fertilized? Many gardeners may not think so, but this hardy perennial shrub will benefit from a boost in nutrition. Heather can live in poor-quality soil, which helps support this shrub's low-maintenance reputation. Topdressing the soil with organic compost or applying a specialized fertilizer will support growth and create a full and dense plant.


How to Fertilize Heather

Heather needs moist, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Top-dress the soil with organic compost each spring—plants grown in neutral or alkaline soil benefit from an acidic fertilizer. You can also use aluminum sulfate or sulfur to lower the pH level if your soil is not acidic. Most fertilizers are granular and must be mixed with water and applied by watering the plant.

Best Time To Fertilize Heather

Spring is the best time to fertilize Heather, regardless of the method. Heather is an evergreen, so it retains foliage all year, but the plant does not actively grow during the winter. As the weather warms during the spring, the plant comes out of dormancy and starts to push out new growth. Feeding the bush in the spring, either through organic mulch or compost, or fertilizer helps support new development.


Best Fertilizer For Heather

There are two methods for feeding Heather bushes: organic compost or a specialized fertilizer. Apply a layer of organic compost or mulch around the base of the plant in the spring. A fertilizer for acid-loving plants, like Rhododendrons, is beneficial for neutral or alkaline soil. Apply a dose of acidic fertilizer annually in the spring. 

Heather Fertilizing Tips

  • Test the soil to determine the best method to fertilize Heather
  • Apply an acidic fertilizer annually during the spring for plants grown in neutral or alkaline soil
  • Amend or top-dress the soil with organic compost or mulch in the spring


-Always wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling chemical fertilizers.

-Closely follow all directions and storage guidelines that are on the fertilizer label.

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