Mexican (false ) Heather ( Cuphea hyssopifolia )

Mexican (false) Heather

This had totally taken over one of the flower beds when we moved here. I’ve beaten it back to the edges of the garden and kept it there. Last February I cut it back almost to the ground to keep it from getting out of hand again. The bees love it and the cats spend hours hiding in it hitting the bees.

It grows to between 1′ and 2′ in mounds and loves humidity.

It likes light to medium shade and doesn’t seem to mind the dry areas, it does not like wet areas.  It does well in shade and can be used as a ground cover under trees.

It does not do well in droughts, especially if it is also windy. So if you can choose a protected location for planting.

Protect from cold, it does not like to be below freezing for any length of time.

It is deer resistant, so they have to be very hungry to munch on this one.

Heather can be found in most mountain ranges worldwide.  It was brought to North America by Scotsmen who wanted a reminder of home.  While the Scotsmen consider heather their own, most varieties of heather are found in South Africa.  Very few South African varieties of heather are found far from home.

I find this to be invasive so plant with caution.

This is a plant well loved by bees.  All summer it is covered with bumble and honey bees.  Consider it as an addition to your bee or butterfly garden. More importantly it is one of the few winter bloomers providing a much needed cool weather resource for bees.

It is often used to edge beds, especially butterfly beds.

The heather was not doing well before the cold winter of 2009-2010, it died back to the ground during the cold. As of mid May about half of the heather plants have re-appeared. It’s now June and about 3/4s of the plants have come back to life.

Died, it wasn’t able to handle the 3 month temps over 100’F and drought of summer 2011.