Mexican Heather – Will The Soil Drain Enough?

Q: I bought several pots of Mexican heather but I’m afraid the soil may not drain well enough where I plan to put them. I read on your website to add “organic soil conditioner” but I don’t know what that is.

A: You’re right to be concerned about soil drainage for Mexican heather. It originated in Guatemala and Mexico, so it loves summer heat and sandy soil. Soil conditioner is simply shredded and composted organic matter, like landscape trimmings and wood fiber. You should be able to walk into any independent nursery and find their bags of soil conditioner with little help. To make a bed of fast-draining soil, I mix a 3″ layer of soil conditioner 8″ deep and follow that with an inch of gritty sand (not play sand) mixed thoroughly with everything else. Mix some slow-release fertilizer (Osmocote, Dynamite,etc) into the planting hole, water occasionally, and you’ll have summer-long, flower-producing, butterfly-attracting machines!