When Is The Best Time To Plant The Mexican Heather, A Pollinator Magnet?

The Mexican heather, or, scientifically, Cuphea hyssopifolia, is a plant perfect for gardeners based in the American South. Also referred to as the False heather, Hawaiian heather, and the Elfin herb, the Mexican heather is an annual flowering bush named for its indigeneity to Mexico. The plant also traces its roots to Guatemala and Honduras and, as its alternate name suggests, has made its way to the island state of Hawaii as well. Given its history, the bush is a friend of tropical climates, producing small, vibrant flowers in shades of pink, purple, and white capable of lasting all summer. As such, for optimal results, it's best to plant a Mexican heather during the transitionary period between winter and spring or early summer so the plant can safely take root before blossoming in the full heat that summer has to offer.

Mexican heathers make great additions to a home garden because their flowers attract a variety of popular pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies, and Southern Plains Bumble Bees. Since pollinators benefit the plants they visit by moving pollen around the garden, planting a Mexican heather bush near an existing crop of vegetables can result in larger yields of better-tasting veggies that the whole family can enjoy. In addition, Mexican heathers are also quite low-maintenance, requiring only a weekly watering, a mild winter, and infrequent pruning and pest control to yield a fresh slate of blooms each year.

Plant Mexican heathers after your region's final frost

To ensure your Mexican heather bush grows healthy enough to produce flowers in your yard, plant it after your area has seen its final frost for the winter. This may differ depending on the frequency of cold snaps where you live, as some northern regions of the U.S. experience frigid temperatures up until early summer. Mexican heathers don't fare well in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so planting one before a region's cold spell is over will likely result in the plant dying before it can blossom.

Rather, Mexican heathers love full sun and high temperatures, growing best in conditions averaging between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if summers in your area exceed this range, don't worry about the heat being too extreme for the bushes to handle. The plants are much more tolerant of scorching hot temperatures and partial shade than cold weather, especially temperatures falling below the freezing point. They also enjoy well-drained soil capable of holding a bit of moisture to keep them hydrated during the warmer months of the year.

Planting a Mexican heather in a portable container instead may save the plants during brutal winters since bringing them indoors and away from harsh temperatures and frosts will keep them from going dormant or dying off. However, if you've already placed a Mexican heather in the ground, covering its soil and roots with mulch may help it keep warm and hold moisture.