Heather Planting Instructions


Heathers should be planted in a position where it will be in sun for all or most of the day and, if possible, facing south. Planting on dry sites or under trees should be avoided.

Bold plantings of groups of 3, 5, 7 etc or more of each cultivar give a good overall effect, however single cultivars, chosen to contrast or complement each other can look attractive in a small garden.

Plan on using 6-9 plants per sq. metre making allowances for other small leaved shrubs planted with the heathers. Plant plants deeply with the lower foliage resting on the soil surface.

Soil Preparation

Most heaths and heathers require an acid soil PH (below 7.0). No lime! Prepare the soil to a depth of 30cm (1 foot).

If soil is predominantly clay, remove soil to a depth of one foot (or plant in raised beds). Replace with equal amounts of garden loam and peat moss. Plant with bone meal and ericaceous compost.


To limit weeding and retain moisture mulching the heather garden is important. Place a 2” layer of peat, composted bark or bark chips around the plants and the entire planting area. Push the mulch under the foliage so that it is touching the main stem of the plant.


Water plants after planting. Watering newly planted heathers is crucial.


Keep the bed free of weeds, a peat mulch will greatly assist this task. Heathers benefit from an annual pruning and the following schedule may be of assistance.

Featured Heather Plants

Thumbnail photograph of Natalie

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Valerie Proudley *
Valerie Proudley *

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Robert Chapman *
Robert Chapman *

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Snow Storm
Snow Storm

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Spring Torch ~
Spring Torch ~

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Dark Beauty
Dark Beauty

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Spring Cream ~
Spring Cream ~

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Cecelia M. Beale
Cecelia M. Beale

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Sally Anne Proudley ~
Sally Anne Proudley ~

from 3.00
Thumbnail photograph of Irish Dusk
Irish Dusk

from 3.00

Heather Pruning

Trim the Spring foliage of varieties of Calluna, such as Spring Cream, Spring Torch, Hammondii Aureafolia and Erica. Suchaa Erica and Watsonii Dawn, Irish Lemon and Orange in the second half of August.

On the length of stem where the flower spike was borne, cut below the dead flowers, this can be done late Autumn or early Spring.

We would recommend removing the dead flower spikes of Erica Ciliaris, E. Tetralix, Erica Cinerea and Erica Vagans in early Spring, as they do give some protection to the plant.

The Spring flowering Erica varieties such as Ex Darleyensis and E. Erigena are clipped early June very soon after they have finished flowering. You don't need to go to the base of the flower as their flowers form on needled branches.

They do need a light trim to keep them bushy and to prevent them from forming a bare, woody centre. If you wait until mid Summer you will have cut off all of next years blooms.

Remember to stay in the green when pruning all heather.

Don't go into the brown woody area. It might not regenerate new growth.

Erica Carnea is trimmed every second year immediately after flowering is over.

With some taller heathers, such as Erica Arburea, Erica.x Veitchii and Erica Australis it is often desirable to remove a third to half of the previous seasons growth after flowering for three to four years to encourage strong bushy plants.


Calluna vulgaris

Each February or March, prune long flowering spikes back to plant. Trim off all flower heads.

Daboecia cantabrica

Each February or March, trim off dead flowers and seed pods, to make bushy growth.

Erica carnea

Every other April or May, trim flower heads with shears. Trim the more vigorous cultivars hard to stop the centre going bare.

Erica ciliaris

Each April or May, trim off dead flowers.

Erica cinerea

Each February or March, trim off dead flowers particularly long flowering spikes.

Erica tetralix, Erica x stuartii

Each April or May, trim off dead flowers.