Growing Heather in pots seems difficult but with the right guidance, you can do it easily! Here are all the details you will need to grow them!
Heathers are low maintenance, drought-tolerant and hardy-winter plants. They are easy to grow and features wonderful colorful flowers year-round. Keep reading this article to learn how to grow heathers in pots.
USDA Zones: 4 to 9
Bloom Color: White, pink, purple and red
Height: 4 inches to 2 feet
There are 500+ varieties of heather – low growing bushes and shrubs, they differ not only in height but in size and colors of flowers and foliage. Buy a dwarf variety of heather for planting in a container.
Types of Heather
This variety of heather features beautiful pink flowers and distinctive needle-like, bronzy-red foliage. It blooms between January and May and grows up to six inches high.
Also known as Calluna vulgaris, Dark Beauty boasts semi-double flowers and dark green foliage. It is easy to maintain and prefers moist, well-draining soil.
December red heather is easy to grow and produces nectar that attracts bees in winter. It blooms between early to late winter and flowers stunning urn-shaped flowers.
Firefly is a recipient of many international flower awards including the Award of Garden Merit from Royal Horticultural Society. It is one of the most attractive heather variety and performs best in moist, well-drained soil. Also known as Scottish Heather, it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Foxhollow heather is perfect for rock gardens and flowers from December to April. It depicts golden-colored foliage and bell-shaped beautiful pink flowers. Foxhollow prefers full sun and acidic, moist, well-drained soil to grow.
Ice Princess is another award-winning heather featuring urn-shaped and delightful white flowers. It is easy to grow and performs best in sandy, acidic, and well-drained soils. This variety of heather flowers from February till April.
Requirements and Planting
Plant heathers at the same depth when you had bought them from a nursery or only as deep as the plant’s root ball would only be covered in soil. Heather should not be planted too deep to avoid root rot. Too shallow planting is not good as well.
Plant them in a large, wide pot, one size bigger than the previous one with good drainage holes in the bottom.
Heather has specific soil requirements to grow healthily in a pot. It likes highly acidic soil with a pH level of around 4.5-6. You’ll need different soil for heather, either buy an ericaceous potting mix or make your own by adding half (50%) of peat moss, 20% of perlite, and 10% each of garden soil, sand and compost or farm manure.
Heather loves the sun but they need to be sheltered from strong winds. Keep your potted heather in a less windy and sunny spot. However, you can grow this plant in partial sun.
Heather looks best when they are planted with other flowers. You can plant it with other plants that belong to the same heather family (eg. Rhododendrons and azaleas). You can also grow this with hydrangeas as both of these plants prefer acidic soil.
Heather Care in Pots
Water when the top two-inch layer of soil is dry. Do not let the soil dry out completely, otherwise, the plant will lose buds and leaves. When watering, remember not to spill water on leaves, it promotes fungal diseases.
Heather does not need much fertilizer. However, you can fertilize heather with rhododendron fertilizer. Heathers are very sensitive to over-fertilization, make sure to follow fertilizer package’s instruction to avoid over-fertilization.
Pruning is necessary and should be done in spring as it makes heather bushier and abundant flowering shrub.
Ensure that your potted heathers are adequately protected from frost. Heathers are quite sensitive to frost. Before winter these must be transplanted into a large pot and properly insulated. For this, cover the pot with polystyrene foam (also from the bottom), and mulch the plant heavily with straws. Smaller pots can be taken indoors and grown under grow light.