Pruning Heath and Heather

Now is the time to prune your heather (Calluna vulgaris) and summer blooming heath (Erica vagans, Erica tetralix, Erica williamsii).  It’s as simple as cutting off the stems right below where there were flowers last summer. You should also remove any winter damage – i.e. dead or broken stems.  Don’t forget to prune the stems lying along the ground.   Pruning promotes growth and prevents the plants from getting straggly.  Try not to cut off more than a third of the foliage.  (This is a good ‘rule of thumb’ for pruning just about any plant.)

I don’t prune our winter blooming heath (Erica carnea and Erica x darleyensis) every year as we like them to look a bit wild. Every other year seems to work for us.  I like to keep the plants so that they just touch each other.  We give them their haircuts after the flowers have faded. Usually May, or whenever we get around to it.  If you like a more manicured look – prune away.  Just be sure to complete your pruning before mid-June, as the winter blooming heaths begin setting buds in July.

Before Pruning

Before Pruning

After Pruning

After Pruning

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