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The Right Way to Grow and Care for Mexican Heather Plants

Mexican Heather-mexican-heather-plant-care

Mexican Heather

The Mexican Heather also know as false heather is a native to Florida and grows in most states. This ground cover produces dark green foliage with flower blooms of white, lavender, and pink. What I love about the Mexican Heather is that it produces small beautiful flowers in clusters that look truly amazing.

I have used Mexican heathers on many garden projects because they are a hardy type plant (drought-tolerant). This tropical beauty will color your gardens and landscapes giving that tropical look along with attracting butterflies. If your desire is to get a taste of the tropics then continue reading as we take a closer look at the right way to grow and care for Mexican heathers.

Planting Location

The Mexican heather is a tropical beauty that needs the full sunlight to perform at its best although can survive in the partial shade.

Soil Type

This hardy plant can thrive in a range of soil but requires a soil that has good drainage.

Watering Methods

Give your Mexican heathers a good soaking and allow the soil to dry out somewhat before watering again.

Fertilizing Methods

Your Mexican heathers will do well when given compost or manure a slow-release fertilizer will also help.

Sucking garden insect pests of Mexican heathers

Garden insect pests of the Mexican heather includes

  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Aphids
  • Scales
  • Thrips

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are one of the more common garden insect pests that do damage by sucking the plant’s sap which causes browning and yellowing of the leaves followed by leave drop. Mealybugs are a cottony white color with a mealy wax covering, they remain stationary when feeding and moves very slowly. The use of insecticidal soap will bring these garden insect pests under control or a solution of dish liquid and water will also help. Allow the soapy water to remain on plants for an hour or two then rinse off thoroughly with fresh water, this solution should be applied when the weather is cool and not in intense heat repeated at seven days intervals.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny insect pests which can do huge damage, signs of spider mites include spider webbing on the plant along with yellowing and browning of the leaves because of the plant’s sap that is abstracted. Spider mites can be controlled with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Before applying pesticides read and follow the manufacture’s direction for best results.

Aphids

Aphids are pear-shaped garden insects that are included among the sucking insects, but what is interesting about aphids is that they are among the easiest of pests to eliminate, a strong spray of water from your garden hose will do the job or the use of insecticidal soap or horticultural will bring them under control.

Scales

There are many species of scales that invade our gardens and landscapes, scales are tiny insects that remain stationary as they feed, the bodies of scales resembles that of and armor. Scales do the same damage as the other listed insect pests and can be controlled with the listed pesticide or neem oil.

Thrips

Thrips are among some of the deadliest garden insect pests because thrips do not only suck the sap from garden plants but have also been known to spread viruses from plant to plant.  Thrips will cause yellowing and browning of the leave followed by leaf and bud drop also stunting of garden plants. Thrips are dark with narrow wings, the nymphs are yellow or light green, the use of neem oil or Bayer Advance 3 in 1 multi insect killer will bring them control. Read and follow the manufacture’s label for direction.

Chewing insect pests of Mexican heathers

Chewing insect pests of Mexican heathers include

Purple mexican heather-mexican-heather-plant-care

Purple Mexican heather

  • Caterpillars
  • Flea beetles
  • Japanese

Caterpillars

Caterpillars are among the chewing insect pests that cause damage by eating parts of the leaves, a sure sign of caterpillars is leaves having ragged uneven edges, caterpillars ranges in sizes and colors depending on the species.

Flea Beetles

Flea beetles also feed by chewing small holes in the plant’s leaves, beetles are small and dark in color and if disturbed will jump.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles chew on the flowers and leaves of the Mexican heather, the body of the Japanese beetle is metallic green.

To control these chewing insect pests the use of Diatomaceous Earth, botanical insecticides or Pyrethrin-based insecticide will work wonders.

Diseases of Mexican Heathers

Root rot is a common disease among Mexican heathers, root rot occur either if the soil has poor drainage or where there is an abundance of water which is why it is so important to install your heathers in well-drained soil and water according to Mexican heaters watering needs.

Ideas where to install Mexican Heathers

Below are just a few ideas on where to install the Mexican heathers.

1. Install Mexican heathers in groups along your driveway.

2. What about along your garden path walkway.

3. Place them in as a front drop in your garden beds.

4. Use them as border plants.

5. Install them in containers and place the containers on your porch or patio.

6. Place Mexican heathers in containers and place the containers on either side of your main door entrance.

7. Install in hanging baskets.

8. Place Mexican heathers around the base of the tree trunk.

9. Install alongside your fence.

10. Install alongside your wall.

Container grown Mexcian Heathers

A great way to grow Mexican heathers is in containers, what I often say is one of the reasons why I love container gardening is that with this type gardening can always move plants to a more secure area under unfavorable conditions. When installing Mexican heathers in containers the containers should have drain holes for water to find a way of escape.

The soil should be a soil that drains well when watering giving a good soaking and then allow your heather to dry out a bit before giving another drink of water. Check the soil by pushing your finger about two-three inches to check for moisture. There are also tools like a moisture meter or a soil probe that you can purchase from your garden center which will also give you a good reading.

Once you install heather or before you install place in the container in an area that gets full to partial sunlight. Fertilize as stated earlier and keep an eye out for garden insect pests and disease and follow as was directed.

Growing Mexcian Heathers from baskets

When it comes to hanging baskets follow the same procedures as with container gardening, the heather can either be planted directly into the soil if the basket is of plastic material but if the basket is decorative then install your Mexican heather in a plastic container and place the plastic container in the decorative

The benefits of pruning are that it encourages new growth along with an abundance of flower bloom. Pruning for the Mexican heather should be done early in the growing season, the goal as stated is to promote a fuller plant with an abundance of flower bloom along with controlling the hight and ensuring that your heathers keep its natural form.

Look for branches that are dead, diseased, damaged or overgrown, and remove. Ensure that the pruner that you’re using is sharp and in good repair. Mexican heathers will continue to bloom until the first frost. Once the warmer weather comes around these garden beauties will self-seed.

The final word

Mexican heathers make a great choice, this tropical beauty hardy plant will do great when added to your garden and landscape design give them a try you will be so happy that you did as you get a taste of the tropics with this tropical beauty. I have seen first hand what these plants can do and you will be so happy too.

10 comments

  1. Lily says:

    Hi, this sounds like an awesome border and basket plant. So hardy and easy to manage. I see that it has quite a lot of pests, which seem to hide in all our gardens. You give great practical ideas to manage these pests and I will be trying the washing liquid and water one. Loved the tip about not doing it on hot days.

    All up, I think this sounds a lovely plant with the clusters of pretty flowers and I will be seeing if I can get them in our Australian nursery for planting here.

    Thanks for a very informative article.

    Lily

    1. Norman says:

      Hello again Lily, these ground covers are so beautiful and will give your garden that tropical look with its clusters of flowers. So happy to help and please let me know how it goes.

  2. Anastazja says:

    This is the second valuable article I have found on your site.  We have recently changed the landscaping in the front yard along our house.  We have been looking for a hardy, ground cover with lots of flowers to fill some spaces between other plants.  The Mexican Heather maybe that plant.  We are free of most of the bugs that harm this plant.  I was glad to read your instructions on caring for the plant, particularly when it can be pruned.  Thanks for the article and the suggeestion.

    1. Norman says:

      So happy to help, this ground cover is a garden wonder and will give that tropical look and feel bring that much-needed flavor. 

  3. Feji ben says:

    I have had some experience with this plant before…and the challenging part is where your water it.when Wateringb.  the Mexican heather since it  plants deeply about once every week, then allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again. Container plants will need water more often, especially during the summer months

    1. Norman says:

      Amazing plants and you are right, thanks again and all the best to you.

  4. Fluffy Duck Studios says:

    Norman, this is the first time I have heard of this beautiful little plant. I’m intrigued. Presumably, given their name, these plants are more suited for warmer climates only.

    You mention Mexican heather can be used for landscaping and along driveway edges.  How long do the plants live for (ie, are they perennial plants) and do Mexican Heathers bloom all year round?

    1. Norman says:

      I love Mexcian heather and have worked with them for years. These ground covers are perennials and blooms from spring to fall and will give a longer bloom period in mild climates. I hope this helps and thanks again for your response.

  5. MrBiizy says:

    Wow Norman. This article is perfect considering the fact that it covers a lot about achieving a healthy and blooming Mexican Heather Plant. This plant looks very beautiful, stunning, hardy and attractive too and would make a garden more colourful.

    I love your practical approach to care of this plant from location to soil, watering, insects etc. Really comprehensive.

    Regards!

    1. Norman says:

      I am glad that you liked this article. Thanks for your words of encouragement, all the best to you.

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