How can I encourage more blooms on my heather and should it ever be pruned?

It is March and my heather should be blooming profusely, but it is just about 40%. Should I have fertilized it during the summer? Should it ever be pruned to encourage more blooms?
Submitted by tcjotm23

Hi, It's hard to guess what's going on here in terms of your plants' health since I don't know the details of how you are growing the plants. I would first be sure it's getting enough sunlight (at least 6 t 8 hours a day) and that the soil pH is correct for this plant. Heather prefers acid soil with a pH around 5 to 6. They also need consistent moisture so a mulch of pine needles is very important. Flowering could also have been affected by weather conditions. If you had a sudden cold spell in the fall, it could have hurt the plant because heather wood must have time to harden off before really cold temps hit. So, if you had an untimely freeze period on late fall, this could have killed some of the branches or buds. Also, it's not good to offer these plants any nitrogen fertilizer after mid-summer. If you do, it will encourage a lot of new growth that won't have time to harden before winter. Use a fertilizer designed for them or rhododendrons. Finally, heathers don't really require pruning so I think that something else has caused your plants to have less flowers this year. It just could be due to weather conditions or the cultural treatment they are receiving.

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