The word "heather" is associated with the wastelands of England, Stevenson's ballad and dancing faeries, which can entice a person for hundreds of years in their underground halls. Heather in home design is not immediately remembered: despite the unpretentiousness of care, frost resistance and beauty, it is not too common in central Russia, which is a huge omission.
Appearance and varieties of heather
There is only one species in the genus - common heather, but its subspecies are numerous and varied. In general, heather is a low shrub, without a clearly defined main trunk, reaching a height of 70 cm, with triangular leaves, the color of which varies from green to golden. In the summer, it blooms with small flowers gathered in one-sided brushes - each flower is vaguely reminiscent of a bell and painted in shades of pink or purple. Heather ordinary - honey plant. The honey resulting from it has its own taste and may seem unusual to a person who has never tried it before.
With green leaves and white flowers: Long White, Alba Jay, White Lone. The most popular ones are:
- alba - bright green leaves, height up to 40 cm, rounded crown, white flowers;
- Alexandra - dark green leaves, height up to 30 cm, flowers are cream, but by the end of summer they change color and become pink first and then dark red.
With golden leaves - Arran Gold, Cottswood Gold, Gold Haze, Blaze. The most popular ones are:
- Andrew Proudly - very low shrub, up to 15 cm, the leaves are orange, yellow at the ends, becoming closer to bronze in winter, the flowers are pink;
- boskup is a Dutch variety, 40 cm tall, yellow-green leaves that turn red with honey by winter, flowers are pink-purple, inflorescences are short.
Separately, two more groups stand out, with double flowers: Red Favorite, Dark Old, Joana Sparks. The most popular ones are:
- Autumn Glow - height 30 cm, flowers light purple, terry, short brushes;
- Monica - height 55 cm, pinkish-red flowers, dark green leaves change color and become grayish by winter.
With flowers that do not open up to the end - Romina, minima, Fritz Kircher. The most popular ones are:
- marlin - German variety, 30 cm, buds dark purple or dark purple;
- David Yason - 20 cm, the flowers are dark purple, brushes are short, dense.
Types of heather should be selected meticulously - appearance, frost resistance, basic habits depend on the subspecies. Having successfully picked up shades, it is possible to turn the heather ordinary into a real decoration of the site, and choosing the wrong one can get a very unfortunate version of the landscape and the need to start all over again.
Before you start growing heather, you need to choose a suitable place. And since any heather is a long-term heather who does not like transplants, you need to do business wisely, considering the following factors:
- Lighting. Heather is accustomed to wastelands, where there is no place to hide from the sun, because a shady place for it will not work. The minimum level of illumination is 50 percent, otherwise no care for heather will help to keep it in good health.
- Water level. Heather ordinary accustomed to soils with good drainage, in which water does not have a chance to linger much. The heights are ideal for it, from which any streams of water quickly drain. If you plant it in a valley, the plant will quickly begin to rot and wither.
- The soil. Heather prefers acidic soils, therefore, if the garden was carried out processing with lime or dolomite flour, it cannot grow in it.
- Neighbors. Heather gets along well with all plants that prefer acidic soils and do not cast a shadow on it, therefore the neighborhood issue is more decorative than practical, but young seedlings are well combined with thuja, juniper, rhododendron.
When a seat is selected, the heath landing can begin. There are two of its options - growing from seed or planting purchased seedlings. Technologies differ only in the fact that in the first version, seedlings are actually grown independently.
It is important to act consistently - growing heather requires accuracy:
- Sprouting seeds. Heather seeds should be put in flat dishes in an even thin layer, sprayed with a spray bottle abundantly, covered with glass and cleaned in a warm place.
- Planting seeds. Peat substrate is mixed with sand, bark and coniferous land in a ratio of 3: 1: 1. After 2 weeks, the seeds are spread on the substrate, slightly sprinkled on top, sprinkled from a spray bottle and covered with glass, creating a greenhouse effect. From time to time the seeds are sprinkled with water so that the substrate does not dry out.
- Hardening When the first shoots appear, the hardening process begins - the glass is lifted for a while to air. Every day, the airing time increases, after the container with the sprouts begin to take out to get used to.
- Seating. When the sprouts begin to interfere with each other, they are seated in different pots.
- Continuing hardening. Heather should be taken out in partial shade and left there. When the cold snap starts, you need to remove the sprouts in a cool room. Heather can be planted in the spring, in the second year of his life.
The technology of planting home-grown heather does not differ from planting seedlings - both should be carefully done:
- Site preparation. From the site remove the top layer of soil, fill with peat mixed with sawdust, ground from coniferous forest and sulfur. Trample, pour water mixed with apple cider vinegar (not more than a third cup per bucket).
- Preparation of pits. Dig holes, drainage from broken bricks, sprinkle with substrate, add some bone meal.
- The landing. Planted heather in the summer or spring, gently lowered into the hole to the depth of the roots, covered with soil. Abundantly watered. They mulch with gravel, peat, and spruce branches — any material that keeps the soil moist.
Growing home heather is not so difficult - all its varieties are unpretentious, do not require specific care. If everything was correct, the plot in the country will quickly become covered with flowering heather bushes. It remains only to provide them with adequate care.
Nuances of care
In order for home heather to grow well and magnificently, so that reproduction of heather is possible, and to truly decorate the site, you need to follow a few simple rules:
- Watering. Should be relatively frequent - once a week. You can add acid to water. It is important that the water does not fall on the leaves of heather - only at the very root.
- Crop. It is held every spring, when the home heather reaches three years of age. Cut off excess branches below the inflorescence carefully so as not to damage the whole plant. As a result, heather bush becomes more lush.
- Fertilizer. It is also held every spring after the crown has been cut. A universal acidic fertilizer is used, which is diluted in water and poured under the roots, onto already moist soil (this is important, otherwise there is a chance to burn garden heather). You can use fertilizers for azaleas and rhododendrons, only diluted as they are too concentrated for heather.
- Wintering. Heather is a plant that tolerates cold quite well, but most of its varieties still need to be taken care of in the fall. Cover the roots with spruce leaves or warm peat, overlay the bush itself with pine fluffy branches in the shape of a hut. It is recommended to remove it not when the snow melts, but closer to the middle of April, otherwise it is likely that the tender leaves of heather will burn under the sun.
- Treatment. If they take care of heather correctly, he almost does not get sick, but if it does happen, you should contact knowledgeable people or use special tools. And if the leaves are covered with gray bloom - it means gray rot due to excess moisture in the soil. It is necessary to reduce watering or transplant heather to a dry place.
In addition to planting and care in the open field, reproduction is also feasible. Like any plant, heather propagates vegetatively. There is one easiest way - air layouts. You can not even wonder how to do it, how to multiply the heather - the technology is so simple that it is impossible to make a mistake. We need to take one of the branches, bend it to the ground and fix. Sprinkle with soil, water, fertilize, as a separate bush. At a certain moment, the branch will take root and take root - then you can separate it from the mother plant and transplant it.
Landing and leaving heather is an interesting occupation, which also allows you to decorate the site and get pleasure from the process. After all, what could be nicer than to grow a little real beauty with your own hands?