Heather Winter Care

Winter care for Heather is rather simple, depending on your zone. Some varieties will be covered in lovely flowers during the summer; by fall, the foliage turns vibrant, festive hues. Other varieties will bloom in autumn or even in late winter, like Erica carnea. Heather lives in USDA zones 5 through 8, although some cultivars can live in zone 4. Overwintering Heather is important in zones that have colder winter weather. Not much winter care is necessary for zones 7 and 8, but it is best to be prepared in the event of a cold snap or unexpected winter storm.


Protecting Heather in Winter

Cover Heather shrubs during the winter in climates that receive significant snowfall. The cover can be a rigid structure that will keep a snow load off the branches, or you can wrap the plant in burlap. Plants placed near buildings, where snow may slide off a roof, or areas where snow banks form should also be covered. Protect the roots from chilly temperatures by packing leaves or pine straw around the base of the plant.


Cutting Back Heather For Winter

Heather shrubs do not need to be pruned in the fall. Wait until blooming has finished to prune Heather plants and rejuvenate growth. Remove dead or damaged growth during the fall; otherwise, let the plant go dormant for the winter.

Heather Winter Care in Pots

Potted Heather bushes need extra protection from cold winter weather. The roots of potted plants are more susceptible to cold weather because they only have a few inches of soil and a container to protect them. Container-grown plants need to be moved to an area that is out of the elements. The space does not need to be heated, but a protected space like a basement, garage, or storage shed, will help. In zone 8, Heather shrubs in pots can stay on a porch or patio, but cover the plants or move them to a protected area if the forecast calls for frost.


Watering Heather in Winter

Watering Heather if planted in the ground or potted is unnecessary during the winter. This bush goes dormant, and plants do not need to be watered when they are not actively growing. Plants in zone 8 may continue to grow through a mild winter, but generally, Heather plants do not need to be watered during the winter.

Growing Heather Indoors

Heather can be brought indoors during the winter. This bush retains its foliage and will introduce color and texture to a space. Heather shrubs go dormant in cold temperatures, and the warmth of a home may prevent the plant from taking a winter rest. This bush needs a lot of light to grow, and it may not be able to push out new growth or flowers when grown indoors.

Steps To Care For Heather in Winter

Heather is a low-maintenance shrub that adds color to a landscape between flowers and striking fall foliage. This perennial is winter hardy but needs extra protection in zones 4 - 7. Plants grown in zone 8 may need less care but should still be protected from extreme cold temperatures.

Step 1 - Remove dead or damaged growth in the fall

Step 2 - Cover plants that are grown in areas that receive significant snowfall 

Step 3 - Pack leaves or organic material around the base of the plant to insulate the roots from freezing temperatures

Step 4 - Move potted plants to a protected area during the winter

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 08-15-2022