How to plant heather in bowls


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Difficulty rating : Low

This task should be fairly straightforward regardless of your gardening experience.

Plant: Early Autumn & Spring

There are lots of ways to grow plants in your garden, and doing so in bowls, pots or containers is an easy way to add colour to your outdoors without taking up too much space. It also gives you the opportunity to move your plants when you fancy changing your garden’s display.

One of the favourites to plant this way is Heather: easy to grow, low maintenance, and if you plant several species they’ll flower at different times and give you colour throughout the year.

Tools for the job:

Step 1: Get to know your heather

With hundreds of different type of heather, here are a few basic species:

  • Calluna vulgaris - An evergreen shrub, the flowers vary in colour according to variety. July-October. Likes well-drained, lime-free soil and a sunny position. Height 6-24 inches.
  • Erica carnea - The leaves are light green to dark purple/green and the flowers can range from white to crimson (in winter). It doesn’t mind alkaline soil and likes a sunny position. Height 6-9 inches.
  • Ciliaris (Dorset heath) - An evergreen shrub with pale green foliage and flowers white through pink to rose-red. July–September. Height 6-12 inches.
  • Cinerea (Scotch heather) - A dwarf evergreen shrub with deep green leaves, flowers white to deep purple/red. June–August. Height 6-12 inches.
  • Mediterranean shrub - The leaves are small and green on a woody stem, the flowers are white, pink or deep purple. Late winter and spring. Height 2-8 feet.
  • Tetralix - An evergreen shrub with white to crimson flowers. June–October. Height 9-12 inches.
Heather 4
Heather 2
Heather 5

Step 2. Plant your heather

Heather can be planted at anytime, but early Autumn and Spring are best. Bearing in mind the root ball will need room to grow, choose a pot with a diameter 1/3 to 1/2 the height of the plant and line it with a few pieces of broken flower pot, pottery, polystyrene or gravel to help drainage.

Heather likes acidic soil, so fill the pot to within 2 inches of the rim with ericaceous compost. Heather won’t grow well without good drainage, so make sure your pot has holes in the bottom and place some pottery feet under it.

Step 3. Look after your heather

Although a really easy plant to care for, Heather need watering for the first few months and at frequent intervals after that. You’ll need to fertilise them once, and apply feed once a year. If your plants are autumn flowering plants, you will need to prune them in the spring by removing older stems to prevent the plant getting thin and woody. Then when it comes to winter, just keep them out of the wind.

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