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Some people decorate their gardens and summer cottages with heather. It is a herbaceous and perennial plant, the flowers of which can turn white or purple during flowering. Before planting a plant, you should familiarize yourself with the recommendations for planting heather in the open field and caring for the planted bushes.
Popular varieties of heather
The plant is divided into several large groups, which differ in the height of the bushes:
- Large. This is a tall coniferous heather that grows up to 70-80 centimeters in height. Large bushes are used to create flower arrangements in which tall and undersized flowers are adjacent to each other. The most popular large varieties are Allegro and Long White.
- Medium-sized. An ordinary shrub, the height of which does not exceed forty centimeters. Medium-sized seedlings are used in the design of a monochrome garden. Most often, Aurea, Boskop and Carmen are planted in the garden.
- Dwarf. A low-growing flower that grows only up to 25-30 centimeters. Silver Knight and Red Star are considered popular dwarf flowers.
Heather in garden design
People who grow heather in the country often use it to decorate the garden. Experts recommend planting it in shaded and dark parts of the site, since its flowers can lighten them. In this case, it is necessary to plant them not one by one, but at once in 10-15 pieces. Many consider the creation of a heather garden to be the most successful design solution. At the same time, not only heather bushes are planted on the site, but also eriks. Despite the fact that these plants bloom at different times, they go well with each other.
Conditions for growing crops in an open area
To grow heather, you need to familiarize yourself with the optimal conditions for its cultivation.
Lighting and location selection
Before planting heather in your garden, you will have to find a suitable place to grow it. Many people believe that this plant is unpretentious to care for and therefore grows anywhere, but this is not the case. The flower is undemanding to lighting, and therefore it can be planted in a shaded area, which is not always illuminated by the sun. When choosing a suitable place in the garden, pay attention to how it is blown by the wind.
The site must be reliably protected from wind gusts so that the seedlings do not break from strong winds.
The plant has poor frost resistance and therefore it is better to figure out in advance the optimal temperatures for growing it. People who have been breeding heather for many years recommend growing it in winter at temperatures around 5-10 degrees Celsius.
To protect the bushes from hypothermia, soil mulching is carried out at the end of autumn.
The optimal temperature in the summer is considered to be indicators that do not exceed twenty degrees above zero. Growing flowers near heat sources is contraindicated, since hot and dry air negatively affects growth and flowering.
In order for the planted heather to grow and develop well, you need to monitor the moisture level. In this case, special attention is paid to soil moisture. It is a moisture-loving plant that needs to be watered frequently. If the soil is too dry, the bush will begin to dry out. You also need to monitor the humidity of the air. It is known that dry air negatively affects the growth of the flower. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that the degree of humidity is 80-90%.
Experts advise planting heather in soils with a high acidity level. If the acidity is too high, it is reduced with citric acid, peat or sulfur. You can not grow bushes on alkaline soil, as they will quickly die.
The growth and development of heather is facilitated by micronutrients that must be contained in the soil. To make the planted bushes grow better, sand with peat and sawdust is added to the ground. Also, under each plant, you can add 60-70 grams of sulfur, which accelerates the growth of heather.
Best and worst neighbors
People who have never cultivated heather are interested in what plants it is best to plant with. All varieties of northern orchids are considered good neighbors. If planted with heather bushes, they will bloom several weeks earlier than usual. Moreover, they will bloom 5-8 days longer. They can also be planted near the pulmonary gentian that blooms in early summer. These flowers are considered tall, and therefore they should grow behind the heather.
Vegetables are considered bad neighbors because they consume a lot of nutrients and slow down the growth of flowers.
Planting and propagation methods
There are four methods of flower propagation, the features of which must be familiarized in advance.
Many gardeners decide to plant heather with bends. To do this, you need to dig a shallow hole near one of the bushes, then free one of the lower branches from the leaves and dig it into the hole.
You can fix the twig using ordinary wire or a strong metal hairpin. The upper part of the branch must be lifted and tied to the support.
When the shoot is dug into the ground, it must be watered with warm water. After a few weeks, the branch will be fully rooted and can be cut from the parent bush and transplanted to another location.
Another common breeding method is planting apical cuttings. They are cut from old and already stiff branches of the plant at the twentieth of August. For planting, twigs are cut on which there are no flowering shoots. Cut branches must be planted in containers with soil mixture prepared from soil and peat. After planting, they are thoroughly watered and fed with superphosphate and urea.
Some growers prefer to propagate heather with rooted seedlings. They do this in the spring, but sometimes they are planted in early autumn. For planting, you need to buy seedlings in specialized stores that sell flowers. Before planting, all seedlings must be straightened the roots so that they are not collected in a lump.
If this is not done, the planted seedlings will not accept well and die. The plant should be planted in a shallow dimple 10-12 centimeters wide. First, warm water is poured into it, after which the plant is planted.
This method of propagation of seedlings is practiced at the end of summer, two weeks before the beginning of September. First you need to carefully dig in the bush and remove it from the ground. Then, all drying shoots are cut out from the dug out plant and the rhizomes are divided into parts. The separated roots are seated in dug holes and watered.
Optimal timing for planting and planting crops
Before planting flowers, you will have to figure out the optimal timing for planting them in the garden. Experts recommend sowing in the spring, when the air warms up to 10-15 degrees. Therefore, most often flower growers plant heather in the second half of April or in May. Some decide to start planting in the fall. The most suitable time for this is October and the end of September.
Heather care according to the season
In order for heather to grow well and bloom for a long time, it must be properly looked after.
Watering and loosening the soil
This is a moisture-loving flower that needs abundant watering. If the soil is not regularly moistened, heather bushes will develop poorly. To moisten the soil, you must use acidified warm water. Therefore, before watering, it is mixed with citric acid or apple cider vinegar.
In spring, flowers are watered at least once every 7-10 days. In hot summer, the procedure is carried out every three days.
For abundant flowering and improving the development of seedlings, special fertilizers are added to the soil. It is not necessary to feed the heather very often, once a season is enough. The best food for a flower is a nutrient solution made from poultry droppings diluted in water. You need to use it at the end of May or June. It is necessary to water the bushes carefully so that the fertilizing liquid does not accidentally fall on the surface of the leaves.
Diseases and pests: prevention and treatment
Heather bushes are known for their resistance to common fungal and viral diseases. However, despite this, sometimes they can get sick. Most often this happens due to improper care of bushes or planting in contaminated soil. To treat and prevent the development of diseases, seedlings must be periodically treated with fungicides and chemicals.
Pruning and replanting
To prevent premature aging of the shrub, it is necessary to periodically prune it. The procedure is carried out in September or October, when flowering ends completely. All leafy shoots of the plant are pruned. First of all, shoots are removed, on which yellow leaves appear. You also need to cut off stems that are more than ten centimeters long.
It is necessary to transplant heather seedlings to another place every five years.
Heather after flowering: how to care
When the plant has bloomed, you need to make sure that it has enough nutrients for the winter. For this, the bushes are fed with organic and mineral feeding compositions. The plant is fed with manure, peat and a solution made from bird droppings and leaf humus. Also, potassium-containing and nitrogen-containing fertilizers must be added to the soil.
The nuances of preparing a plant for winter, depending on the regions
In order for the plant to endure the winter normally, it must be prepared in advance for wintering.
In the Urals and Siberia
People who grow heather in Siberia and the Urals must make sure to prepare it for the winter frosts. Preparation begins in early autumn, before severe cold weather begins.
If it's too late to prepare, the plant won't survive the winter.
In order for wintering to pass without problems, the surface of the soil near the bushes is covered with pine branches and sawdust.
In the middle lane and the Moscow region
The climatic conditions of the Moscow region and the middle zone are ideal for heather seedlings. However, even when growing flowers in these regions, it is necessary to prepare them for wintering. Before freezing, they are covered with dried grass, fallen leaves or tree branches.
In the Volga region
Saplings that are grown in the Volga region also need to be covered for additional protection from frost. They can be covered with plastic wrap, dry twigs, hay, straw or leaves.
Errors and problems in growing heather
People who have never planted heather before can make mistakes when growing it. A common mistake that many people face is planting flowers in the wrong soil. Because of this, seedlings develop slowly and rarely bloom. Also, beginners often take care of seedlings incorrectly, rarely water them and practically do not feed them. All this negatively affects the growth and flowering of the culture.
To decorate a summer cottage or garden, some plant a plant such as heather. Before planting a flower, you need to understand the features of popular varieties, as well as familiarize yourself with how to plant it correctly and care for the planted shrubs.