Growing Mexican Heather


Mexican heather is a small evergreen shrub that is used in gardens for borders and accents. The plant is native to Mexico and Guatemala. The plant flowers almost the entire growing season with tiny pink, white or purple flowers. The scientific name for the plant is Cuphea hyssopifolia and you may know it as false heather or false Mexican heather. Dwarf varieties grow to about 10 inches tall and the standard variety will grow up to 3 feet. Mexican heather is hardy in USDA planting zones 8 through 10.

Step 1

Choose a location that has partial sun. Morning sun to part afternoon shade is best as the hot afternoon sun will burn the leaves. Plan planting for spring when all threat of frost is gone.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice the size of the container and clean the soil of all grass and weeds. Add compost to the soil at a ratio of one part compost to two parts soil. Fill in half the planting hole with amended soil.

Step 3

Carefully remove the plant from the container and place into the planting hole. Fill in around the roots with amended soil and hand tamp down firmly.

Step 4

Water thoroughly immediately after planting and keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season.

Step 5

Apply a slow-release fertilizer in the summer, then again in the winter and spring. Follow manufacturer's directions for amount to apply.

Step 6

Place 3 inches of mulch around the plant starting 2 inches from the main stem. This will help to keep in moisture and keep the weeds from growing.

Step 7

Prune in the spring if the plant gets leggy or straggly looking. Mexican heather does not mind being pruned and will come back thicker with more flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Mexican heather plant
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Slow release fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • Floridata: Cuphea hyssopifolia
  • Back Yard Gardener: Cuphea hyssopifolia
  • University of Illinois Extension: Awesome Plant Profile: Cuphea
Keywords: planting Mexican heather, growing false heather, ground covers

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.