The term ‘Heather’ is most often used interchangeably for both the Heather and Heath species of plants. Their similar qualities of wooly evergreen foliage and small, yet profuse pendulous flowers make them desirable species for gardeners who live all across the world. Native varieties of Heathers and Heaths can be found growing wild from Europe to Africa.
A popular variety is the Erica genus of which there are about 700 species! These tend to adapt to a wider variety of soil conditions. However they are mostly wanted for their rare blooming season which happens during the otherwise dreary winter and early spring. Flower colors vary from white to lilac to deep reds and burgundy!
Heathers rarely need fertilizing but do need well drained soil. A continual wet root system will likely cause fungal root rot and the plant to fade.
There are many forms, colors and varieties to choose from. Your needs will determine what will work best for you. Lower spreading forms of Heather are best used for retaining walls, rock gardens, and ground covers. Their upright growing brethren are brilliant in mass plantings, borders and containers.
Various species can be grown in zones 5 through 9 in part to fully sunny conditions. Usually the biggest maintenance issue will be pruning or shearing of the plant every year or two. Make cuttings just below the spent flowers to keep plants bushy, floriferous and healthy.
Whether planted in mass on sunny hillside or tucked away in a rock garden, Heathers without a doubt, provide a burst of spectacular color after a lone winter. Few plants can ignite the excitement of all the beauty that is yet to arrive during the coming growing season.
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