Heathers for dry sandy soil
Heathers are low-growing, hardy evergreen perennial shrubs which thrive in open sunny locations or partial shade. They are the dominant plants in most heathlands and moorlands in Europe with different varieties having flower colours ranging from white, through to pink, a wide range of purples and reds. In this section, we include the best heather plants for sandy soils, which tend to dry out easily and be low in nutrients. Heathers are acid loving plants and, helpfully, sandy soils tend to be acidic too. There are two varieties - Calluna and Erica. Calluna has small scale-like leaves carried in opposite pairs, whereas Erica's foliage is more needle-like and borne in whorls. Both are brilliant for bringing a natural feel and splash of colour to your garden. It’s best to dig sandy soils in late winter or early spring and incorporate plenty of well rotted garden compost or manure, along with some slow release fertiliser such as Osmocote, when planting. Mulch with a 5cm (2 inch) layer or bark to suppress weeds and aid water retention and water during dry weather until established. Heathers work well in ‘waves’ of 5-7 of each variety. For dramatic yellow foliage consider Calluna Aurea, Erica Golden Starlet or Erica Foxhollow. Calluna Wickwar Flame has stunning golden-orange foliage and mauve flowers, whilst Calluna Silver Queen is the best silver variety.