The key to good companion planting is to ensure that each plant in the area shares the same soil, lighting and moisture needs. Heather companion plants should like the cool, moist conditions and acidic soils that these outstanding flowering evergreens prefer. Another consideration for what to plant next to heather is form. Heathers may be erect or prostrate, making them either excellent focal plants or groundcovers. Select plants that grow with heather by their sizes and position them correctly in the planting space for an impactful display that allows each specimen light and air.
Companion Planting with Heather
Heather is the overall term for either heathers or heaths. Both plants have similar growing needs and are evergreen with elegant, colorful blooms. When planted en masse, heathers and heaths make a swath of tones and foliage with easy appeal and graceful texture.
Adding some dimension to such plantings further enhances the garden area and increases interest year around. There are several common heather companion plants due to their preference for the same growing conditions but also some surprises that will give the heather garden a whole new appearance.
What to Plant Next to Heather
Classic companion planting with heather often includes rhododendrons and azaleas. These plants crave the same acidic soil and consistent moisture on which heathers thrive. You can even fertilize heathers and heath with the rhododendron foods on the market with excellent results. Camellia, gardenia and hibiscus are other flowering shrubs to combine well with heathers.
Heathers have airy, delicate foliage that may develop rust, gold or other tones as the season progresses. If you want a continuous foliage display, there are several other outstanding acid-loving plants from which to choose:
Food plants are fun to mix into the ornamental landscaping and provide garden grazing as you weed. Blueberries are classic acid-loving plants that have the same moisture and lighting needs as heathers. Don’t forget to feed the birds! Berries from mountain ash, holly, and serviceberry are to birds as catnip is to cats and provide homes as well as food for other wildlife.
Smaller flowering plants also complement heather and bloom at different times, thereby extending the bloom show. Suggestions might include:
A classic planting scheme is a mixture of heathers and conifers. There are many that perform well in the same situation and make excellent plants that grow with heather – firs, hemlocks, spruce, and dwarf pines are good examples. When using the taller specimens, plant heather on the sunniest side so its flower production won’t be affected. Smaller conifers can run rampant through a heather garden and accent with their proud needles and pregnant cones.
Acid-loving heathers make perfect companions for a host of plants. It is simply a matter of taste and your vision as to which you prefer. Take some risks and try something new. You’ll love the look and ease of any of these plants and they can transform your heather garden in to something altogether more sophisticated and edgy.