How to Propagate a Mexican False Heather
Mexican false heather--also known as Mexican heather, Hawaiian heather, and elfin herb--is an evergreen flowering plant that grows up to 24 inches tall. It is considered a "sub-shrub" because of its compact full-grown size. Mexican False Heather has leaf-covered stems that give off several blooms of purple, white or pink throughout the growing season. It is considered a perennial in mild climates and an annual in colder climates. Mexican false heather can be propagated in a few different ways.
Propagation by Division
Dig up a large, already established Mexican false heather plant. Take care to use your shovel or spade at least 12 inches further out than the furthest-reaching branches of the plant, in order to protect the root system.
Pull the plant gently from the hole. Some roots will remain in the ground, and that is okay. The plant needs the root ball (the large, tangled ball of roots) in order to survive, and the out-laying roots are not as essential to its health. Shake the loose soil from the roots.
Place the plant on its side on the ground or a gardening table. Use a sharp knife to divide the plant--from root to top--in half. If the plant is unusually large, divide it into three or four sections.
Plant each of the sections as individual plants. Water immediately, to help the plant release the oxygen bubbles trapped around the roots.
Propagation from Cutting
Cut off a piece of Mexican false heather, approximately 4 to 6 inches in length. Use sharp gardening shears or clippers to avoid causing damage to the plant.
Remove 2 inches of leaves from the cut end of the plant cutting. If desired, dip the cut end into rooting hormone. This is not necessary; Mexican false heather grows easily, but rooting hormone will speed up the rooting process.
Fill a 4-inch flower pot with potting mix. Use your finger to press a 2-inch well into the center of the soil. Press the cut end of the Mexican heather cutting into the hole, and brush soil into the hole to support the plant.
Water immediately, and then water once or twice a week to keep the soil moist. When the plant grows, transplant it into a larger container.
Propagation by Seed
Obtain Mexican false heather seeds from a vendor or a plant. Mexican false heather is self-sowing in nature, so it is very easy to grow this plant from seed.
Fill a 4-inch flower pot with potting mix. Moisten the soil thoroughly, and allow it to drain.
Place two or three Mexican false heather seeds on top of the soil. Use your hand to brush soil on top of the seeds. Place the pot in a place that gets at least eight hours of sunlight per day. Keep the soil moist (not wet).
- Mexican heather plants or seeds
- Gardening shears
- Rooting hormone (optional)
- 4 inch flower pot filled with potting mix