Mexican Heather

Kate Mitchell

December 19, 2023

If you are looking to add a touch of color and beauty to your garden, Mexican Heather is an excellent choice. With its attractive blooms and easy maintenance, this plant is sure to bring joy and charm to any outdoor space. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of Mexican Heather, including its characteristics, care tips, and how to incorporate it into your garden design.

Appearance

Mexican heather - also known as false heather, elfin herb and Hawaiian heather - is a compact shrub with plentiful, delicate evergreen leaves and small, trumpet-shaped blooms. These pink, white or purple flowers make a pleasant contrast with the green foliage.

Mexican heather has many woody branches and naturally grows in a round shape. Its beautiful flowers bloom in spring. The colorful display lasts through summer and even into fall, and the clusters of flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Small purple flowers surrounded by little green leaves

Growing Conditions for Mexican Heather

Native to Mexico and Guatemala, this versatile plant does well in warm climates like Florida's. Winter hardy in Zones 9 to 11, Mexican heather is easy to grow outdoors in the southern United States.

Drought-tolerant as well as winter-hardy, Mexican heather is well-suited even to Florida's summer heat. It can be grown in garden beds or used as ground cover, but this versatile shrub also makes a great container plant. It will tolerate any soil type, although good drainage is essential. Adding compost or manure to the soil will provide additional nutrients, boosting the plant's strength.

Plant Mexican heather in full sun. This plant loves high heat and needs four to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Partial shade at other times of day is fine. This shrub spreads wide and low. It grows 1.5 to 2 feet high and up to 2.5 feet wide. Try to space plants 18 inches apart so they have room to spread.

Initially, water your Mexican heather once or twice a week to ensure that the soil remains moist. Once the plant is established it needs less water; often, after a year or two, Mexican heather doesn't need watering at all. However, in a container, it will need more regular watering, especially during hot weather.

Pale purple Mexican heather flowers

Caring for Mexican Heather

Mexican heather plants can be lightly pruned in the spring if the plants become scraggly or overgrown in appearance. This will improve the appearance and density. You may also surround your plants with a layer of mulch in order to keep in moisture and prevent weeds from springing up.

Keep an eye on your Mexican heather's spreading habits, as this plant self-seeds profusely and can become invasive. Consider removing seedlings when they appear, or growing this plant in areas where it won't spread easily.

As for pests, the Mexican heather remains fairly resilient in its growth and health, but may need attention if spider mites or flea beetles come to visit.

Spider mites are more likely to appear when this plant is grown indoors, or during hot and dry spells. Flea beetles leave tiny holes in the leaves and stems, which damages and can even kill the plant eventually. Start by spraying plants with water, and consider insecticide if the issue persists.

Using a balanced, slow-release fertilizer can be helpful for your Mexican heather, providing nutrition throughout the growing season. Talk to the professionals at LawnMore for more specifics on fertilization choices.

A single pink-purple flower against a dark green background

Incorporating Mexican Heather into your Landscape Design

Mexican heather makes an attractive border plant. It can act as a small hedge for gardens, or around the corners of pathways. This versatile shrub also works well as a filler plant in a flower bed, or as ground cover. It can even be grown in containers or window boxes to bring a pop of color to your patio or deck.

For more information about Mexican heather and how to make it a part of your own outdoor space, or for questions and inspiration on landscaping, feel free to contact the friendly professionals at LawnMore Gainesville.


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