How to Grow Mexican Heather


Mexican heather, a dwarf shrub also known as false heather, grows natively in Mexico and Guatemala. In the United States, the plant thrives in hardiness zones 8 through 11 as a ground cover and low hedge. Although it may be killed back during winter, Mexican heather returns the following year with new growth sprouting from the base of its stem. Gardeners prize the shrub for its small flowers in shades of white, pink or purple, its compact growth habit and its attractive evergreen foliage.

Step 1

Choose a planting site that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Apply a 1-inch layer of organic compost and use a garden tiller to incorporate the material into the soil, increasing drainage and fertility.

Step 2

Use a shovel to dig a hole of equal depth and three times as wide as the root ball. Insert the root ball into the hole and carefully cover the roots with soil. Water immediately after planting to collapse any air pockets. Space plants at least 18 inches apart.

Step 3

Spread a 1-inch layer of mulch over the planting site to insulate the soil, suppress weeds and increase moisture conservation. Start the mulch layer about 3 inches from the base of the shrub to allow air circulation and prevent fungal diseases.

Step 4

Water Mexican heather once every five to six days during spring, summer and fall to prevent the soil from drying out completely. Decrease watering to once every 10 days during winter, when the plant is in a state of dormancy and requires less moisture.

Step 5

Feed three times per year: once in early spring, again in mid-summer and finally in early fall. Use a balanced 13-13-13 NPK fertilizer to provide proper nutrition for rapid growth and flowering. Apply at the rate recommended by the manufacturer for the best results.

Step 6

Prune Mexican heather during early spring just before new growth begins. Use pruning shears to cut off damaged and excessively long limbs to improve the aesthetic appeal of the plant and help conserve nutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Garden tiller
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service: Cuphea hyssopifolia
  • University of Illinois Extension---Awesome Plant Profile: Cuphea
  • "Florida Gardener's Guide"; Tom MacCubbin, Georgia Tasker; 2002
Keywords: Mexican heather, false heather, Cuphea hyssopifolia

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including