There are two types of heathers; summer flowering heathers and winter flowering heathers. On first appearance they both look the same, but they are quite different plants. As they are different plants, they require different growing conditions to thrive and put on the best show of colour. They both however benefit from a feed of Growmore plant food when being planted.
How different are these two types of heathers? Well, they are in fact from different Genus’s of plant; the summer flower heather is from the genus Cannula, and is the only plant within this genus. Cannulas are: summer flowering and most importantly acid loving plants and need to grow in such soils. These Cannulas are common bog plants. The winter/ spring flowering heathers are from the genus Erica and are sometime referred to as heaths. These Ericas are winter flowering and generally these plants are quite happy in lime, acid and neutral soils. Examples would include Erica carnea and Erica erigen.
So now that we know the difference between the two types we can better understand how these two different plants should be planted and into what type of soil these plants would prefer. If you want to create a winter garden then Ericas should be on your list.
To plant Heathers first test your soil using a simple pH soil Test Kit. These simple tests can quickly determine the acidity of your soil. Once you know you can choose the heather that best suits your conditions. Heather look best when planted together, generally I would plant 7 to 12 heathers together depending on the size of the garden. Spacing of heathers should be 60cm or 2 foot as heather will quickly grow to this size when well feed with a feed such as growmore plant food.
Planting heathers is similar to planting any small shrub; first you should soak your plants in water for ten minutes, then you need to position your plants and then begin preparing the planting holes for each plant. Dig out a hole 1ft deep and twice the width of the plant’s root ball. Prepare a planting mix of soil and fertilizer such as growmore plant food. Mix approximately 30 grams of growmore plant food with garden compost and place it into the planting hole. Remove the plant from its pot and place it into the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the existing ground level and that the plant is straight and upright. Next filled in around the root ball with the garden soil and press it in well with your hands.
All plants should be watered well after planting and this should even be done in damp weather. With the added growmore feed the plants will have all the nutrients they need to develop and grow new roots, stems and flowers over the coming year. An additional feed of plant food would be recommended every spring, at the start of the growing season.