I don't have a garden, but I have taken to having window boxes with some wild flowers from seed and keeping herbs, which is working out great so far. However, recently I bought heathers, a range inc. the erica and the alberta white. I am in Germany and the weather has been very hot and I have been keeping them on the window in about 6 hours of sun in individual pots without holes and still in the plastic containers from the nursery - I just have a feeling I am doing something wrong, but they look good so far, but I think they will not last this way.. also watering seems to be needed daily, but it is very hot here at the moment. Please any tips will be greatly appreciated! thank you in advance.

  • Hi Anna! Stormy is right about drainage - can you plant them in your window boxes? The containers from the nursery should have holes (otherwise: never buy there again, IMHO) ... And did you buy Callunas or Ericas? I know they are often both sold under the same name and closely related... Post a picture, if you like. Good news: The worst summer heat is over according to the dwd.
    – Stephie
    Sep 1, 2015 at 8:20

2 Answers 2


Anna, you HAVE TO HAVE DRAIN HOLES in the bottom of any pot!! Get a drill and drill some holes and soon. What did you use for soil? Hopefully it was sterilized potting soil in bags??!! Garden soil is a big no-no in any kind of pot!! I've got explanations big time on other similar questions on this site. Heather is VERY finicky!! Lots of drainage, always a little bit moist, proper regular fertilizer (I can help with that). Not really in my opinion a great plant for a pot. There's a gardener here FROM Germany, name of STEPH. See if you could talk to her directly via chat. Shoot, you gotta get points, but I am sure she'll see your question...Please, please send pictures, OK? Info on your soil, are there rocks/gravel at the bottom of these planters (ugh), what makes you go water these guys and with what kind of water? Tap, don't use tap water. Get distilled water or a friend's well water. Too many salts, chlorine, fluorine...ick. I'll look for your updates!

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    Stormy, tap water in Germany is quite different from tap water in the US, it's actually water, not chlorinated brine as in some parts of the US (been there...). I think OP should be fine with tap unless the water is hard, which ericaceae don't like. In this case I suggest rain water.
    – Stephie
    Sep 1, 2015 at 8:23
  • Hi Stephie!! Does Germany put fluoride in the tap water? One of my many pet peeves that everyone should be considering, sigh. Your Hitler was the first to use this stuff in Germany's water!! I just found this out...how do they process icky water into drinkable water over there? What do they use if not chlorine? If your water is hard that is a good thing...but most people treat their water individually using salt to condition. For plants, the excess salt is the first thing we are able to recognise. Fluorine added to our drinking water just boggles my mind. Rain water...sigh.
    – stormy
    Sep 1, 2015 at 21:50
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    Hop over to the Garden Shed and I'll explain...
    – Stephie
    Sep 1, 2015 at 22:26
  • I'm in the UK and the tapwater is chlorinated, no fluoride added here in W London anyway. The trouble in the US is they tend to use chloramine rather than chloride - chloride dissipates quite quickly once the water is drawn off, whereas chloramine does not.
    – Bamboo
    Oct 1, 2015 at 16:15
  • Hey, just makes me relieved that other countries aren't so stupid or with a horrid agenda! Rain water isn't hard? Chlorinated brine is a beautiful description of our water. You see why I am constantly talking about tap water.
    – stormy
    Oct 1, 2015 at 18:49

The only Alberta White I know of in the heathers and heaths is Daboecia - its a heath, and requires neutral to acid soil conditions and will grow in a bog, so it prefers damp soil. Most of the Ericas also require acid soil conditions, though the damp or wet soil not so much - there are two or three varieties that aren't too fussy and will tolerate lime. In the circumstances, suggest you get hold of some ericaceous or acid potting compost, fill the window box with this and then plant the heathers directly into it. Water in well. Even in hot conditions, they will dry out less quickly with more soil surrounding their roots than is currently in their small pots, but check whether they need watering until the weather cools down. You'll have to strike a fine balance between the Daboecia's need for dampness and Erica's preference for slightly drier conditions.

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