Heather (some specific species are of the genus Calluna and the genus Erica, such as Calluna vulgaris or E rica arborea )It is one of the most common decorative plants in many gardens, although it is in fact a perennial shrub. It can be found planted directly in the ground or in a pot and, depending on the case, it will be necessary to apply some care or others. In general, we can consider that it is an easy plant to care for, that it does not require special or different attention to most decorative plants and that, therefore, it is easy to make it look strong and healthy. However, if you want to be completely sure that heather has everything it needs to develop correctly, keep reading and we will tell you the most important and specific heather care that you have to take into account.
Heather care in winter outdoors
When this evergreen shrub is outdoors in cold weather, a number of important factors should be taken into account when caring for heather in winter outdoors :
First of all, it must be borne in mind that heather or Erica is a plant that needs plenty of sun. Therefore, it should always be located in areas where it receives abundant light, at least 8 hours of light a day. This can be a bit more complicated in winter, when the hours of sunshine per day are shorter. Therefore, it is important that we position it in a place where it receives abundant light.
Heather is a plant that needs a warm temperature. In general, the perfect thing will be that it is between 14ºC and 25ºC. In any case, it will not tolerate frost properly, so very harsh winters can put its survival at risk. If this is the case, it is best to protect it with a transparent plastic blanket during the colder months.
Likewise, another aspect that must be taken into account regarding the care of heather in winter is that it does not tolerate excess water in the roots well, which does not mean that the soil has to be dry. In fact, it is important to make sure that the soil is moist, but always avoid over-watering the soil. If this happens, the most probable thing is that it could suffer the attack of fungi in the roots, especially in winter, so it will be necessary to be attentive to its good condition and correctly regulate the watering accordingly. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to apply an antifungal to the ground during the fall and winter months. Preferably an ecological antifungal, formulated from natural minerals that repel the action of fungi without damaging or modifying the soil.
If you like to have flowers outside even in winter, then the variety of this shrubby plant that we recommend is Erica herbacea , known as winter heather, winter flowering heather or spring heather .
Heather care in summer outdoors
On the contrary, when summer arrives, the most important care of this shrub will revolve around the possible lack of water. These are the main heather care in summer :
As we have mentioned, heather is a plant that needs abundant light, so summer is going to be an appropriate time for this plant. However, it is also necessary that the soil remains moist at all times, and this is where we will have to focus our attention when caring for the heather or Erica in summer outdoors.
Although it does not pose the same risk as during the winter months, it is important to avoid waterlogging the soil of the heather so that the roots do not rot and that fungi cannot appear. However, given that in summer the evaporation of soil moisture will be considerably higher, it is essential that watering is carried out whenever necessary, and always preventing the soil from drying out. In this sense, the most recommended irrigation will be drip irrigation , since it avoids depositing too much water on the ground at the same time that it allows applying it just in the amount and in the area where it is necessary.
Compost and flowering
In late summer, it is advisable to apply a small amount of fertilizer rich in phosphorus. This will allow the flowering of the heather to be more powerful the following year and the development of the plant to take place in a healthier and stronger way.
Indoor potted heather care
Although heather is a preeminently outdoor plant, it can also be grown in a pot and kept indoors. If you decide to have this plant like this in your home, follow these tips on caring for potted heather indoors :
As mentioned, heather is a plant that requires abundant light. Therefore, unless it is a specific variety that better tolerates indoor environments, when you have heather in a pot indoors it is very important that it is placed near a window or light source as abundant as possible.
Substrate or soil
Likewise, another factor that must be taken into account when having a potted heather plant indoors is that the substrate used will have to be the most suitable for the plant, since the capacity it has spreading its roots will be more limited than if it were planted directly in the ground. In the case of heather, slightly acidic substrates are recommended . In all cases, which have a pH lower than 7. For this, it will be enough to ask for this type of substrates in garden stores.
Finally, another care for potted heather indoors that we cannot neglect is watering. Here the same thing will happen that happened with the heather or Ericas planted in the ground. Too much water will cause the roots to rot, while too little can cause the heather to dry out. Therefore, it is essential to be very aware of the humidity of the substrate at all times. In addition, it is also essential that water is prevented from accumulating in the bottom plate of the pot, as it will be the main way to cause the roots to rot in the case of a potted heather. Instead, it will be better to water it little by little in a fairly usual way and, whenever it is done, remove the excess water that drains through the bottom holes of the pot and remains in the dish.
Meaning of heather or Ericas
The word heather has its origin in the Celtic word “Vroikos”, which means “to adorn, clean or beautify”.
Heather flowers have a meaning linked to beauty and good luck . In addition, they also symbolize protection, admiration and loneliness. This is a general meaning, but depending on the color of the flower the meaning may vary. On the one hand, purple heather flowers are more related to beauty, admiration and loneliness, and on the other hand, pink heather flowers are more associated with good luck and white and yellow with protection .
Where to buy the heather plant
If you liked this plant and now you want to buy it to add it to your balcony, terrace, garden or land, you can go to different places.
To buy the heather plant you can go to florists, nurseries, specialized gardening stores (even large sites dedicated to the outdoors, both for plants and for furniture and decoration), as well as online stores.