Can I plant flowers and shrubs in pots over winter, like heather? I am new to gardening, as hubby use to do all the gardening, and just had decking done in garden, so can only put pots out.
You can, but you need to treat your container garden as though you are gardening 1 zone lower than your current zone. So, for example, if you are in zone 5, you will need to treat your garden as though you live in zone 4. And should only expect plants that are suitable for zone 4 and higher to survive in the pots.
The reason for this is that without the insulation of the ground, the plant's roots are exposed to the elements more and experience weather as though it were colder than it is.
You can help ensure that your plants will survive the winter by placing them in a sheltered location when storing them for the winter. This can be against the foundation or wall of your house. Also covering the plants and pots with leaves or straw will further help to insulate them.
Zone 6 in the mountains of western North Carolina. I am interested in trying to grow heather. Sunny locations with excellent drainage. Any particular varieties that I should consider?
The following Heather (Calluna vulgaris) varieties are suitable in zones 5-7 and will work fine where you are: Firefly, Spring Torch, Winter Chocolate, Velvet Fascination
These Heath varieties will also work: Winter heath (Erica carnea), Williams heath (E. x williamsii ), Bell heath (E. cinerea 'Velvet Night')
How do I care for Japanese Soft Heather in Zone 6?
This article will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/heather/growing-heather.htm
Need to cut back plants; however, fiberous mat under plants is hard to remove. Any easy way to get rid of this mat? Any way to avoid it in the future?
The fibrous mat won't need to be moved. This article should help: http://www.gallowayheathers.com/heather-planting-instructions.asp
I bought two heathers. Unfortunately, I only got one of them in the ground right away (it's doing fine). The other one has turned brown and looks dead with maybe a tiny bit of green deep in the middle.
Let's start with an article on growing heather: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/heather/growing-heather.htm
For the dead one, gently cut away as much of the dead part as possible. Pull it out of the pot, spread the roots gently away from the soil, and cut away dead roots that you see, also. Then go ahead and plant it. It may not live, but then again it may. With plants it's often "nothing ventured, nothing gained."
I have several heathers in my garden that have been there over 20 years. This spring they have not flowered as much as in previous years and some bits are dead and falling off. How can I revive them?
If they flowered before, then they may simply be in need of some phosphorus, which could have become depleted. Most difficulties with this plant can usually be attributed to the soil.
When and how is the best time to trim/cut heather back? Some of mine are very straggly. Thank you.
They should be cut back just after flowering.