Heather (Calluna vulgaris) is native to Scotland, Ireland, Russia, Scandinavia and parts of North America. It is an evergreen shrub that boasts heather flowers in late summer. Usually the flowers are in the pink or purple family, but there are also the less common white heather plants. Varieties bloom between late July to November. They are cultivated in rock gardens because they do fine in poor, sandy, acidic soil. Knowing how to properly care for white heather will keep the plant healthy and in optimum blooming condition.
Plant white heathers in full sun and well-drained soil. Check the soil's pH level with a pH test kit purchased from a nursery or garden center. White heathers prefer acidic soil.
Protect white heather from cold winter winds. Place a wooden tent over white heather or wrap it in burlap once winter arrives to protect the plants. A wooden tent offers protection from the elements and can be made with two sheets of wood that are the same size. Connect them on one side with a hinge to create an upside down V shape.
Water white heather twice a week for the first several months of life. Add enough water so the soil is moist but not soggy. After that, it can take care of itself and becomes drought-resistant.
Prune white heather annually, as soon as the plant finishes flowering. Cut off dead, diseased and weak branches. Also snip off the ends of wayward branches. This will promote more flowers next season and keep the plant looking bushy and compact, as opposed to stringy.
Mix a fertilizer in with the soil around the heather plants in the late winter or late spring to encourage the growth of new roots. Look for a fertilizer that is made for rhododendrons. Stunted growth and poor color indicates the white heather needs food. Use a liquid fertilizer when you water the plant or sprinkle a granular mixture around the base of the plant.
Water white heather thoroughly after fertilizing. Make sure the soil is saturated so that the food gets down to the roots.
Things You Will Need
- pH test kit
- Burlap or wooden tent
- Pruning shears
- Do not let white heather plants sit in wet spots because they will develop disease. Good drainage is essential.
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