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Perennials/Italian Heather


I live in Olympia, Washington (zip code 98503) and need to know if I can plant an italian heather in the ground.

Hello Sharon,

Hello Sharon,

Italian Heather is a gorgeous plant native to South Africa, which is a clue to its hardiness. You are in the perfect sort of climate to display it outside during part of the year. It is a zone 10 or 11 plant, and unfortunately, 98503 (Olympia) is 8a (interestingly, in 1990 it was 7b). But it can be grown outdoors at temperatures from 55 degrees F to 80 degrees F. Temperatures below 30 F are usually fatal.

So, unfortunately, the answer to your question is no. It will not survive year round in your climate in the ground.

This is a plant that requires excellent drainage and acid soil.

It can, however, be successfully grown in a container and brought indoors when the temperatures drop. Here in the Midwest, where I am, I put such plants on my south facing patio. I managed to overwinter a lavender plant that way this past winter.

I'm sorry that I could not be more encouraging, but at least I hope that I provided the information that you need.




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Donna Mack


I am a Master Gardener through the University of Illinois Extension.I can answer questions about pest control, especially voles, rabbits, chipmunks and slugs, and have done so on Dave's Garden Watchdog under the name DonnaMack since 2002. I have a lot of expertise with ornamental grasses, hardy roses and old garden roses, minor bulbs such as ornigothalem, chionodoxa and allium as well as most types of lilies. I lived in a conservaton community and have great familiarity with native plants. I am knowledgeable about organic methods and I grow perennials, annuals and vegetables from seed.


I have been gardening since 1998 and have raised roses, peonies, annuals and perennials (the latter two from seed), and numerous shrubs and trees, many of which I have planted. I am familiar with many organic techniques and use as many as I can but know the chemical solutions, which are most benign and how to use them. I LOVE gardening, and I get great satisfaction with helping others so that they reach the state of joy that gardening can bring to those inclined to it.

The American Lily Society and the Wisconsin Illinois Lily Society

I have numerous entries in Garden Watchdog under the name DonnaMack. I write three to four columns a year for the Kane County Chronicle. I also write articles for Daves Garden Watchdog.

I successfully completed the University of Illinois Master Gardening Program in March of 2013 and have maintained my certification every year since. I did this to augment extensive self study through books (I've probably read 100) and an arts degree, which helps with aesthetics. I am purely an amateur, but one who studies, reads, and documents extensively. My gardening log began in 2000, and has hundreds of entries, so that I can use my successes and failures to assist other gardeners.

Awards and Honors
The University of Illinois created a Team with Work Award for master gardeners who work together to create what they regard as an outstanding project. I won this award as part of a group that created "The Idea Garden", which suggests plants for home growers to attempt to grow. My personal contribution was salvias - ornamental and culinary hardy and tender perennials, which I grew from seed and tended through the season. I have recently been asked to join the Speakers Bureau, which would require me to present topics to various groups under the auspices of the Master Gardening program.

Past/Present Clients
I am currently overseeing and performing the maintenance of ten gardens in a suburbs of Chicago.

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