Fertilizing Heather

Do Heathers need to be fertilized? Typically not, depending on the soil conditions. Living up to its low-maintenance reputation, Heather can grow well in poor-quality soil. However, topdressing poor soil with organic compost each year will support full and dense growth. In alkaline soils, application of an acidic fertilizer can keep Heather growing strong.


How to Fertilize Heather

Heather needs moist, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Top-dress the soil with organic compost each spring to improve the soil and lock in moisture. Plants grown in neutral or alkaline soil can 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 acidic formulas 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 compost or fertilizer helps support new growth.


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 shredded bark around the base of the plant in the spring. A fertilizer for acid-loving plants, like Rhododendrons, is beneficial for plants in 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
  • Top-dress the soil with organic compost or shredded bark 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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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 08-15-2022