You can plant common heather in October – if you follow certain rules
If you want to brighten up your sad autumn garden with natural colours, then try planting common heathers. These plants do not need much. Just a slightly acidic soil. If you do not have one, just add peat to the existing soil and that is it. The autumn rains will take care of the watering.
Nevertheless, if you are planting common heathers in autumn you have to follow certain rules to make sure that they will survive the upcoming winter and bloom again in the following spring. And this is what you want from heathers. Flowers. First, you can enjoy these little flowers roughly from September to November and then again in March and April.
A shallow hole is not enough
Small flowers are asking for small flowerpots. Just dig a little hole in the dirt, loosen the root system little bit and plant and cover it with suitable soil mixed with peat. Right? The problem is that shallow planting does not “motivate“ heathers to create better root system fast , which they need so much, especially before winter.
So, how to proceed correctly? First let the root ball soak well in water. In the meantime, dig a sufficiently deephole and fill it with a mixture of ordinary garden soil and peat (at least half-and-half). That is if you do not have acidic soil in your garden (for example under coniferous trees).
Carefully remove heather plants from the package and lightly squeeze the root ball in your hand. It should loosen slightly. You may also break it apart slightly or perhaps loosen the edges with a knife or fork. This will “wake” the plant out of its comfortable cocoon and force it to expand the root system. This way you ensure that the plant will create a rich root system within few weeks.
What else to watch out for when planting heather
If the weather remains dry for about a month after planting, do not forget to water sufficiently. Cover the new plants with a white fabric for the winter, so the winter sun will not damage them, and in the spring use a bit of fertilizer designed for acid-loving plants and trim the plants if necessary. Keep in mind that only new shoots produce flowers
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