How to Care for Heather Shrubs


Heather is a neat, woody plant that will brighten up the landscape for several weeks in late winter or early spring with small pink, lavender and purple blooms. Heather will thrive in poor, rocky, infertile soil as long as the soil is moist. Heather isn't tolerant of hot weather and drought conditions and requires moist soil. Although heather will grow in cold weather climates and tolerates snow well, it won't survive for long periods when the mercury drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Plant heather in full sunlight and well-drained soil. Although heather will grow in partial shade, the plant won't bloom at its best and growth will be sparse. Heather should be planted where it won't be exposed to strong wind.

Step 2

Water heather weekly during periods of no rainfall. Allow a garden hose to trickle at the base of the heather plant for about 30 minutes, or until the soil is soaked to a depth of 10 inches.

Step 3

Apply 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch such as bark chips, pine needles or dry grass around the base of the heather plant. Organic mulch will help to main the moisture level in the soil and will control weeds.

Step 4

Spread a loose layer of evergreen boughs or straw over the heather plants in late autumn if you live in a cold winter climate. Remove the protective cover when danger of frost has passed in spring.

Step 5

Prune heather after the blooms fade in late spring, if desired. Trim the dead blooms and remove any stems that died down during the winter. Prune as needed to keep the plant neat and to preserve its compact shape.

Step 6

Avoid fertilizing the heather plant. Heather won't grow well in rich soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Organic mulch
  • Evergreen boughs or straw


  • Heather Care
  • Yardener: Caring for Heather
  • Hume Seeds: Winter Flowering Heather
Keywords: heather, heather plant, organic mulch

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.