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In Praise of the Tree Heather

tree heather

In my garden I have very few rules when it comes to what plants I choose to grow but I do like to be able eat them, smell them or simply enjoy looking at them. That gives me a pretty wide range of plants to choose from!

Regarding the ones I grow for their smell it is of course important that the smell is of the pleasant kind although I do have some skunk cabbage growing by the stream as the striking appearance outweighs the unpleasant pong. Thankfully it is also a good distance from the house.

Fragrant StockAmongst the more fragrant plants that I grow are the usual sweet peas, roses, stocks, pinks, etc. but one of my favourites has to be the tree heather. When we bought our current house the chap selling it asked us to promise to wait until the rather unruly tree heather had flowered before we decided to do anything with it. So we waited and watched as the large and fairly unattractive green shrub started to spout white buds. And then it flowered! It looked pretty good but the smell was amazing! A heady mix of almonds and something else that I just can’t identify.

Tree heather
Most tree heathers are acid soil lovers, multi-stemmed, evergreen and hardy. In fact these are pretty tough and will be fine in exposed spots including coastal gardens. They are sun loving, drought tolerant and fast growing.
Bees love the tree heather and most years a bird or too decides it’s a good place to build a nest and raise young. Being close to the bird feeder it’s also a great retreat for

when the sparrow hawk does a fly-by.

I’ve just taken these photos and I wish I could somehow share with you the wonderful fragrance that I enjoyed whilst doing so. Beautiful.

Not cutting down our tree heather but keeping our promise and waiting to see what we thought once it flowered was one that I’m very pleased we kept. If you are looking for a low maintenance evergreen shrub that packs a powerful fragrance then maybe a tree heather is the one for you.

Tree heather

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4 thoughts on “In Praise of the Tree Heather”

  1. Katie Brunt says:

    Hi Jo, with tree heather we would recommend taking semi-ripe cuttings in July/August. Select and cut nonflowering side shoots of 10cms, trim to 5cms. Plant in peat-free compost and keep covered and moist with a propagator lid or plastic. Leave in a shaded position for 8-12 weeks. We hope this is helpful to you!
    Best regards,
    The Suttons Team

  2. Jo says:

    Can I take a cutting from a tree Heather? If so, when and how? Does it need to go in potting compost first?

  3. Andrew Hague says:

    Our soil is neutral, can I still grow tree heathers if I enrich the soil with ericaceous compost?

  4. Phil Bradshaw says:

    Where can I buy a tree heather?

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