Heather Isn't Blooming

Lovely flowers in shades of purple, mauve, or white grow thickly along the branches of Heather bushes during the spring and early fall. This shrub is easy to maintain and not very fussy, but it may not bloom if not cared for properly. A bare Heather that is not flowering or forming buds can be frustrating. Find out the common causes of Heather shrubs not blooming and how to fix each problem. With some simple care tips, you can ensure your Heather plant blooms and looks terrific. 


Common Reasons Why Heather Isn’t Blooming

  1. Overgrown

Established Heather plants can become leggy or woody over time. Overgrown plants may not push out many flower buds because they are directing much of their energy into supporting their excess growth. Prune Heather plants after blooming to remove leggy branches, shape the bush, and promote a compact form and more blooms.

  1. Incorrect Fertilizer

Heather bushes can grow in low-quality soil, but applying a layer of organic compost will boost plant growth and encourage more flowers. Plants grown in alkaline or neutral soil will benefit from an acidic fertilizer in the spring. Any other type of fertilizer may interfere with flower production. 

  1. Sunlight

The ideal spot for Heather will receive full sun, although, in more southern growing zones, Heather shrubs benefit from morning sun and afternoon shade. Not enough sunlight in northern zones may encourage the plants to become leggy and produce fewer flowers. Too much sunlight in more intense summer weather areas may prevent the plant from setting flower buds.

  1. Water

New plants have high water needs, and established plants have medium water needs. Heather plants that are over- or under-watered may not bloom. Feel the soil and water when the top couple inches of soil are dry. Consider rainfall or drought conditions and adjust your watering as necessary.

Pruning Heather To Help It Bloom

Pruning Heather at the right time can help it bloom. Heather is fast growing and can easily become leggy. Overgrown plants may not bloom or push out as many flowers because they have to support extra growth. Removing the overgrowth allows the plant to redirect energy into new growth and flowers. In addition, different varieties of heather bloom at different times, so pruning after blooming ensures that you will not cut off the current season’s buds.


Fertilizing Heather To Help It Bloom

Heather can grow in low-grade soil, and topdressing the soil with organic compost is enough to support new growth and flowers. Heather prefers slightly acidic soil, so testing the soil and applying an acidic fertilizer can be helpful. 

Get Heather To Produce More Blooms

Heather plants will often be covered in flowers from mid-summer through early fall. Providing excellent care will help Heather plants reach their full blooming potential. Evaluate how much sun and water the plant needs and how much it receives. Fertilizing can be helpful if using the proper products. Lastly, give the plant a trim each spring or after blooming to maintain its shape and help it bloom.

Why Heather Isn’t Blooming

  • Consider the placement and the amount of sunlight the plant receives
  • Monitor the amount of water the Heather bush receives
  • Prune the plant during the early spring to remove excess growth
  • Top-dress the soil with organic compost
  • Test the soil and apply an acidic fertilizer if the pH is neutral or alkaline
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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 08-15-2022