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What Grows Well With Heather

Heather is a beautiful plant with a bold purple color. Many growers would like to add them to their home gardens, adding pops of color and unique textures to the landscape. Like with all plants, growers interested in adding heathers to their garden will need to check out what grows well with heather first. 

Heathers love acidic soil and lots of moisture, making them grow perfect alongside rhododendrons and azaleas. Several other acidic-loving plants can grow alongside heathers, including shrubs like hibiscus and those with bright foliage like witch hazel and hydrangea.

To make the perfect garden landscape, growers should consider optimal conditions for all plants and the aesthetics, picking and choosing combinations that combine well. If heathers are on your list of things to plant, here is how to do it and a look at what you can plant next to them. 

What Can I Plant Next to Heather? 

Heather is a type of shrub that needs at least 6 hours of sun per day. The more sun exposure, the more vibrant the colors, changing from pinkish-purple to gold as temperatures change. Heather thrives in moist soils with lots of drainage, preferring acidic soils over those that are more alkaline. Due to these optimal conditions, several plants grow well with heather, including: 

  • Gardenia
  • Mahonia 
  • Witch hazel 
  • Hibiscus 
  • Camellia 
  • Cleyera 
  • Fringe tree 

In addition to plants that produce beautiful foliage, growers can also grow berries, including blueberries and raspberries, and cucumbers too. 

Do Heather and Lavender Grow Well Together? 

Heather and lavender share a similar look, though they are different when it comes to size and foliage. Heather grows lower to the ground and forms a bushier structure. Lavender grows quite tall and shoots up spikes that eventually turn to bright purple flowers. Heathers do produce a smell, though it’s very subtle. On the other hand, Lavender is known for its fragrance, lifting strong scents into the air when in full bloom. 

Their differences make them distinguishable to the eye, though they prefer similar conditions from a planting standpoint. Growers can plant both lavender and heather together, as long as each is given ample space and plenty of moisture. 

Heather Growing Tips 

Heather comes with a variety of looks. Some produce mauve-colored blooms, while others turn to copper or yellow during different seasons. Before planting, it’s recommended first to have a good idea of the type of heather and the overall look that growers are going for in their garden. Once the type is decided, growers should consider these tips to provide heather with optimal growing conditions. 

Optimal Planting Times

There is heather for all seasons, including spring, summer, and fall. For optimal planting times, growers should consider the type of heather first. Below are common spring, fall, and winter-blooming heather, alongside their optimal planting time. 

Heather TypePlanting Time
Spring TorchEarly spring (Mid-March)
CallunaLate Spring (Late April)
Winter HeathEarly Fall (Late August)
Heather Type and Optimal Planting Time

Growers can choose one type or plant a variety, enjoying the beautiful blooms of colorful heather all year round. 

Where To Plant Heather

Heather grows best in acidic soils. Growers can choose to plant them in open ground with loose, free-draining soil. Heather prefers soil that’s rich with organic matter, which growers can achieve with a store-bought mix or with items such as wood chips, coffee grounds, or kitchen waste. Several items work well as organic matter, and growers should first mix it into soils before planting for the season. 

Once the area is chosen, growers should plant heather in a spot where they will have access to lots of sun. The more sun exposure they have, the more colorful foliage will bloom. Aim for at least 6 hours of sun exposure per day for the best, most vibrant results. 

Heather Companion Plants

Above, we mentioned the type of plants that grow well with heather. Before planting, growers should take a look at what they have in the ground or what they’re planning to put in the ground. All plants that growers would like to add to alongside heather should prefer acidic soils and grow well with access to full sun. 

Soil For Heathers 

Most types of heather prefer acidic soil, though a few types favor alkaline soil. The differences are in growing seasons, with those flowering in winter and early spring loving alkaline soil. There are slight differences between those that prefer alkaline and acid soils, including: 

Acidic

Heather prefers acidic soil, which typically blooms in late summer and autumn. Soil with pH between 6.5 and 5.5 is optimal. Additionally, they prefer light and sandy soil with plenty of room for drainage. When planting heather in acidic soil, it’s recommended to add plenty of organic matter, providing extra nutrients to increase soil structure. 

Alkaline 

Heather that bloom in winter and spring thrive in soil with a pH of 7 or higher. Apart from more basic soil, they grow best with soil that’s mixed with plenty of organic matter and well-rotted compost that has an abundance of nutrients. These help soil stay moist and insulated to protect roots from colder temperatures. 

Watering Heather

Heather is a plant that needs plenty of water when they’re first planted. For the first year, growers should give soil regular waterings, ensuring that they stay moist. After at least a year of regular watering, heather can survive without much water, only needing a bit of moisture if the season turns out to be dry. 

Final Thoughts

Heather is a beautiful plant with lots of variety. Adding it to any garden adds a pop of color and a bit of added texture. Heather is low-maintenance and can grow well with several plants that prefer acidic soil. Growers interested in adding heather to their garden should consider companion plants, optimal soil conditions, and regular watering to help them grow their best.