Mexican Heather for Annual/Perennial Gardens
These flowers, while small in size, are profuse and flush out often, offering local pollinators nectar throughout most of the year. Birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths all seek out the vibrant blooms. This is one of the reasons I include it somewhere in my vegetable gardens as well annual or perennial gardens. In veggie gardens, the more pollinators you can seduce to visit the blossoms of your squash, tomatoes, eggplant, etc…, the more fruit you are apt to harvest. By luring the pollinators in with Mexican Heather, they are most likely to stick around and see what else you got!
We have found that Mexican Heather does best when it is planted in an area that receives partial sun, morning and early afternoon sun with a little bit of shade during the hottest part of the day during our summers. When planted in full sun, we’ve found that its foliage turns a much lighter green. Plant in soil that has been amended with compost and make sure that it drains well, this annual wont tolerate wet feet. Incorporating some slow-release fertilizer at planting helps it to continue to put out tons of flowers, as well as offering it the occasional water soluble fertilizer every few waterings.
Mexican Heather will not tolerate freezing temperatures, but will reemerge after mild winters. A layer of mulch around its crown helps to protect its roots from winter damage. Containers can be brought inside for winter protection. We do, however, think that new spring plantings still look and perform best each year.
Take a minute to check out Mexican Heather next time you are visiting one of our nurseries. If you don’t know where to find it, I’m betting you can follow the fluttering wings of a butterfly or the buzzing sound of a bee and they’ll lead you right there!
~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy