Planting Heather

Heather is a lovely flowering shrub that provides color and texture throughout the year between summer-time flowers and color-changing fall foliage. This bush gets by with minimal care, making it a well-loved favorite with many gardeners. While Heather is low maintenance, this shrub does require some considerations when planting. Planting Heather correctly ensures the plant will grow and thrive and be an inviting part of your landscape for many years. 

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What You Need To Plant Heather

  • Shovel
  • Compost or manure
  • Garden spade
  • Good location
  • Water source
  • Mulch

Where to Plant Heather

Plant Heather in an area that receives full sun, although a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade is better for very warm areas. Acidic soil that is moist but well-drained is best for Heather. This shrub can live in low-quality soil or salty coastal conditions, making it a good choice in areas other plants simply cannot call home. When planting, position the top of the root ball so it is even with the ground level.

Heather Spacing

Most Heather cultivars will grow 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. When creating a hedge or border, space plants so that once mature, the branches will barely touch. Bushes growing 2 feet wide should be spaced two feet apart, measuring from the center of each plant. This spacing will give the plants enough space to thrive while creating a full and continuous look. Plant Heather bushes at least 2 feet away from buildings and other types of plants so that air can circulate.

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Steps To Plant Heather

Step 1 - Choose an area that receives full to partial sun

Step 2 - Dig a hole slightly bigger than the root ball and amend the soil with pH modifiers if necessary 

Step 3 - Position the top of the root ball, so it is even with the top of the hole, and backfill the hole with native soil

Step 4 - Press the loose soil into place

Step 5 - Water the Heather bush until the soil is saturated

When to Plant Heather

Early spring, after there is no longer a threat of frost, is a good time to plant Heather because it will give the plant as much time as possible to acclimate before winter. You can plant Heather other times of the year, but try to avoid planting during the fall in areas with cold winter weather.

Transplanting Heather

Heather can be dug up and transplanted any time, but early spring is the best time to move plants. The roots tend to grow more wide than deep, so plan accordingly when digging up an established plant. Heather can be propagated from cuttings. Trim sections of the plant during the summer and root the plant indoors during the fall and winter. New plants can be planted outdoors in the spring.

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 08-15-2022