Whether in the tub, bed or on the balcony - heather is a plant that thrives almost everywhere. But only if you plant and care for them properly.Heather is very robust
Some call it heather, the other Erika - heather can really be found all over the world, because it can cope with almost any climate. Even in our latitudes, the Erika is not only very popular as grave decoration, it can also be used in a variety of ways in garden design. On top of that, you can even create an entire heather garden.
However, this plant is not only popular because of its appearance. It is more likely because the heather is hardy, so gardeners hardly have to reckon with losses in the cold season. In the meantime, there is also a large variety of colors to choose from. In addition to the typical purple, there are also flowers in light green, white, purple and dusky pink.
Design the garden with heather
The design options with heather are almost inexhaustible. So you can e.g. create an even bed with a single variety and color. However, it looks much more interesting if you combine different flower colors with each other. However, you should not mix the varieties indiscriminately, but plant individual groups with one variety and 10 to 12 specimens each. If you choose varieties with different flowering times, you will have heather in bloom almost all year round.
You should not make the arrangement too symmetrical, because a certain irregularity ensures the great effects. In between you can place large stones or tree roots, or set accents with small hills. By the way, blueberries, the rhododendron and azaleas harmonize particularly well with the heather, because they all like the same soil. There are also brooms, various ornamental grasses and small conifers for designing a heather garden.
The ideal location for the heather
You can calmly put the heath in the full sun. Here, in particular, they produce the most beautiful, most colorful flowers. But even if you choose a spot in partial shade, the heather will thrive well. Dark, shady locations, on the other hand, are not suitable, because then the plants hardly develop flowers and remain slim.
➤ Soil quality:
Usually the heather thrives on any surface. But that doesn't mean that it grows abundantly on every soil and convinces with its full splendor. An acidic soil (pH 4.5 to 6.5) that is well moistened is ideal for heather. The soil should be as loose, humus and nutrient-rich as possible, ideally also a bit sandy.
If the garden soil is very calcareous, you can improve it for the heather with some bone meal. Many soils are also a bit too heavy for these plants. Therefore, you should loosen it up well before planting, enrich it with a bit of peat, peat, gravel or sand and dig it up thoroughly. Deep digging is also good for removing weeds that could rob the plants of nutrients and light. If you then apply a layer of bark mulch two centimeters thick to the earth, you have created the best conditions for a beautifully growing Erika.
Plant heather properly
➤ Time of planting:
With heather, a distinction is made between winter heather and summer heather, i.e. depending on when they flower. However, all species are perennial, survive winter and can basically be planted all year round. However, autumn and spring are best suited for planting. March / April / May or September / October / November are ideal planting times.
➤ Planting distance:
So that each plant gets enough light, you must not place it too close together. The distance between the individual plants should therefore be at least 20 centimeters, better 30 centimeters. Depending on the size of the variety, roughly 8 to 20 plants per square meter are expected.
First you have to loosen up the area a little with a rake and then dig out the corresponding planting holes. When setting, you must then make sure that the root ball is completely covered with soil up to the top edge, even after setting the ground. Then fill the planting hole with soil again, press it down firmly and water the plants abundantly. So that rooting can take place quickly, you have to water it regularly after planting, especially when it's hot and dry in summer.
Caring for heather properly
So that you can enjoy the heather for a long time and you always enchanted it with its lush growth, you must of course do something for the care, even if it is basically very easy to care for plants.
The best way to cut the heather is in spring. The summer heath will then sprout again more strongly. But even when the flowering period is over, the heather can tolerate a strong pruning. The pruning not only stimulates growth, it also prevents the lower part from becoming stale. There are of course varieties that do not grow so abundantly, with these the pruning turns out to be correspondingly weaker.
You always have to keep the floor nice and moist. Even in winter it must never dry out completely. To do this, you can apply a layer of mulch of leaves, or use a special bog bed substrate that moisturizes.
During growth, you should administer a mineral or organic fertilizer such as horn shavings. But even when planting, you can fertilize the Erika for the first time. The next time after the pruning. In the winter months, however, you should avoid fertilizing the heather.
➤ Fight Hallimasch mushroom:
The heather is quite robust against pests and diseases. Only the Hallimasch mushroom can cause great damage to the summer heath. If the white, fan-shaped mushroom spreads on the bark of the plant, the heather usually dies. You must then remove the heather as soon as possible. You also have to replace the soil at this point to prevent the fungus from spreading further.