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YnneadYnnead Posts: 230

Hi stupid question, maybe, but does watering heather plants with hard tap water kill them? I keep losing the online bought heather plants. They go really dry and brown then just die. I put them in ericaceous compost so don't think that is the problem. Am growing some from seed and don't want to kill the little guys off.


  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532

    They don't like tap water, you've got the right compost. They probably got too dry and never recovered because they wasn't established.But I think you shouldn't use water from the water butt for seedlings. The summer flowering ones aren't as hardy as the winter ones. It might be best to go to a GC to see what you are buying. Growing from seed is going to take a long time to grow into good plants.

  • Logan, I find Calluna vulgaris (summer-flowering wild heather) and its cultivars to be very hardy - it copes on high moorlands in northern England and Scotland, after all - but there are other heathers, like Erica erigena (Irish heath) and the Dorset and Cornish heaths (whose proper names I forget) which are more tender.  I'm sure you're right that Ynnead would do well to choose appropriate heathers from a local garden centre, where with luck you should get good advice.  But beware, some very spectacular heathers are imported as houseplants from Holland and are definitely not hardy.

    Ynnead, are you growing your heathers in pots?  They like well-drained soil but don't want to dry out as Logan says.  If you could plant them in the ground they might be easier - providing you can give them a sunny spot and the sort of conditions they need.  (Winter flowering ones don't need acid soil.)

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • YnneadYnnead Posts: 230

    Hi thanks for the replies. Liriodendron yes I was growing them in pots as I dont have a garden. Heard they were good for bumblebees. I think they might just not have gotten established enough like logan said. The seeds are of of erica carnea winter beauty though I also have some calluna seeds which I will try next year. The plants I bought were from a seller on ebay and I've never had any problems with the other plants I have bought from them. Its likely a case of me not watering them enough and them not getting established.

    Last edited: 31 December 2016 10:58:44

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,190

    No matter what conditions a plant prefers, they need to be watered well until established. Pots aren't ideal long term for heathers, in my experience, although you'd think they would be.

    They actually like quite a lot of water, which is why they thrive up here image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • YnneadYnnead Posts: 230

    Hi fairygirl. Thanks I always thought they wouldnt need as much water being twiggy little plants lol. It makes sense though being up in Scotland where it probably rains a lot.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,190

    Our hillsides wouldn't be covered in the stuff in summer if they didn't like water, Ynnead  image

    I think it's a common myth with quite a lot of other plants too. They like good drainage and sun, but that doesn't mean they don't need water.

    Rosemary is another plant which likes serious drainage and sun, but actually thrives with plenty of water too   image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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