Heather is a cute little perennial that is particularly well suited to acidic soils.
It grows so well on formerly marshy soils with high acidity, it gave its name to that soil type: heath soil and heathland.
Summary of Heather facts
Height – ½ to 5 feet (15 to 150 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – heath soil
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – January to December depending on species
An entire set of plants from many families is now called with the generic name “heath plants“.
Read our tips on how to plant heath plants.
Pruning and caring for heather
Heather can grow without any pruning.
Nonetheless, as years go by, the plant may need to be pruned to a more harmonious silhouette.
- If so, it is best to prune lightly in spring, without cutting old wood which can’t produce buds anymore.
- Cut just below flower stems to give your heather a nice shape.
All there is to know about heath and heather
Heather is famous for its ground-covering properties.
There are two types of heather:
- Summer heather, also called “Common heather“. It blooms in summer. The species is called Calluna.
- Winter heather, simply called also “heather”, blooms in winter. The species in this category are the Erica species.
There are also special cultivars and varieties that bloom in fall and spring. When planting a bed of heather, try alternating varieties and you’ll have flowers all year round!
Although “heath” and “heather” share the same root, they’re pronounced quite differently:
- pronunciation of “heather” is /ˈhɛðɚ/ as in “feather” from a bird.
- pronunciation of “heath” is /hiːθ/ as in “teeth”, the plural of tooth.
Smart tip about heather
Adding special heath plant fertilizer spectacularly boosts flower-bearing.
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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Stark pink Erika heather (also on social media) by nirolfix under Pixabay license
Erica with snow by Teodor ★ under Pixabay license