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Heathers in non-acid soil

A kind friend bought me a couple of heathers (Calluna Vulgaris) for my new garden, but I know the soil is not acidic. I'm assuming the compost they are currently in is ericaceous but do I need to buy more such compost to dig into the hole where i plant them, or will it be enough to feed the planted heather with ericaceous feed?
Thanks in anticipation.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,027
    edited 18 October
    You can't fundamentally change the soil you have. You'd either have to keep them potted, or build a suitable area for them.
    The common heather, ling, which is what you have, will need neutral to acidic soil, not just compost, to keep it thriving. Rainwater too, if you're not in a suitable area for tapwater.
    Unless you mean a named variety ? It will still need the same conditions. 
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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,852
    They need well-drained acidic soil and full sun.  If your soil is neutral you may get away with planting them in the ground and adding ericaceous compost and feed.

    If your soil is alkaline you may want to consider keeping them in pots in which case, try mixing them in a larger pot with another ericaceous plant such as skimmia or pieris for an all year display.  You'll need ericaceous compost but not a claggy one so look for a loam based John Innes type no 3 that's ericaceous.   You'll also need to collect rain water for watering them as they won't like hard tap water.

    Using an ericaceous feed from spring thru to mid summer will help them as compost generally only has nutrients for 90 days. 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,027
    I was given a Christmas Basket some 20+ years ago with 2 Calluna Vulgaris and they ended up planted by my fish pond almost buried under a big Juniperus squamata.
    They're still there and will be in flower in a few weeks.
    Soil here is clay and only just slightly acidic, so you may get away with it.
    I prune back all the flower stems quite hard when they're finished and they've been very happy there.
    It's lovely to have such a bright splash of colour in winter.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
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