This group of plants is very hardy, heavy frosts very low temperatures and snow will not do any harm to them.
It is possible to have heathers in bloom virtually 12 months of the year, by planting varieties which flower in different seasons, but heathers really come into their own during the winter months, even flowering at Christmas plus having bright foliage.
There are a wide range of colours from red, pink, white and purple and should be planted 45cm apart, always plant heathers in group of uneven numbers they also require any acid soil so use lime free compost such as Westland Ericaceous compost with a four-month feed.
Most heathers have a height of between 15cm to 75cm check the label for the height. Heathers which flower between September and March should be trimmed back to remove dead flowers stimulating new growth for the following year. This should be done mid-March.
Heathers which flowering during the summer should be pruned just after flowering. Feed heathers between March and August with a feed suitable for lime hating plants such as Scotts Miracle Gro for azaleas, camelias and rhododendrons.
Heathers can be used in hanging baskets or containers over the winter months to give a colourful display complimenting pansies, violas, ivies and cyclamen. Once spring arrives they can be planted into the garden. Dwarf conifers can be planted with heathers always check the height on the label.
For more information contact Inver Garden Centre, Larne.