White Heather Erica cinerea f. alba 'Alba Minor'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'
bell heather 'Alba Minor'


Erica cinerea f. alba 'Alba Minor', commonly known as bell heather, is a low-growing evergreen shrub with a dense, compact habit. It is characterized by fine, needle-like foliage that usually has a soft, grey-green color. The leaves cover the slender stems profusely, providing a delicate texture to the plant. The bell heather blooms profusely in small, bell-shaped flowers that are pure white, which hang from the stems like tiny lanterns. These flowers are particularly noted for their abundance and can envelop the plant, creating a stunning display of white that contrasts beautifully with the greyish-green foliage. The overall impression of bell heather is one of a delicate and intricate plant that has a fine texture and a wave of white, bell-like flowers that bring a sense of lightness and purity to the landscape. Its evergreen nature ensures year-round interest, while the flowering period adds a special charm when the plant is in full bloom.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      White Heath, Alba Minor Bell Heather

    • Common names

      Erica cinerea f. alba 'Alba Minor'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The most common common name of Erica cinerea f. alba 'Alba Minor' is 'Bell Heather'. Bell Heather is generally not considered to be poisonous to humans. There is no well-documented evidence suggesting that the plant, when touched or ingested, causes any toxic effects in humans. Therefore, there are typically no symptoms of poisoning associated with Bell Heather, as it is largely seen as non-toxic.

    • To pets

      For pets, Bell Heather, the common name for Erica cinerea f. alba 'Alba Minor', is not known to be poisonous. There is limited information about its toxicity in domestic animals, but it is generally not considered to be a toxic plant to pets. As such, Bell Heather is not known to cause symptoms of poisoning, and ingesting the plant should not lead to serious consequences for pets. However, pet owners should always be cautious and consult with a veterinarian if there are any concerns or unexpected symptoms after pet ingestion of any plant material.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Flowers: Displays white blooms, adding aesthetic appeal to gardens.
    • Drought Tolerance: Can survive with minimal water once established, suitable for dry gardens.
    • Pollinator Friendly: Attracts bees and butterflies, supporting local ecosystems.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires little care, ideal for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Evergreen Foliage: Maintains green leaves throughout the year, providing constant garden interest.
    • Compact Size: Its small stature makes it suitable for rockeries and smaller garden spaces.
    • Deer Resistance: Generally not preferred by deer, reducing the risk of plant damage from wildlife.
    • Soil Adaptability: Tolerates a range of soil types, provided they are well-draining.
    • Cold Hardy: Resistant to freezing temperatures, making it suitable for cooler climates.
    • Versatility: Can be used in various garden designs, from borders to containers.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Photographic Subjects: Bell heather's intricate structure and delicate flowers make it a favorite among macro-photographers looking to capture the beauty of nature.
    • Artists' Inspiration: Its unique form and coloration can provide inspiration for artists, serving as a subject for painting, drawing, and even sculptural work.
    • Dye Production: Historically, various species of heather have been used to create natural dyes, and Erica cinerea could potentially serve this purpose as well.
    • Beekeeping: Bell heather can be advantageous for beekeepers; its flowers are a good nectar source for bees, helping to produce distinctively flavored honey.
    • Educational Tool: Used in educational settings such as botanical gardens or nature reserves to illustrate native plant species and their ecosystems.
    • Themed Gardens: Ideal for use in 'moon' or 'white' gardens where the aim is to create a landscape dominated by white flowers and silver foliage.
    • Ecology Studies: Used by ecologists as an indicator species to understand the health and changes in heathland and moorland ecosystems.
    • Cultural Significance: In some cultures, it could be used during festivals or traditional ceremonies as a symbol of local flora or natural heritage.
    • Floral Arrangements: Used by florists to add texture and contrast to floral arrangements due to its delicate white flowers and evergreen foliage.
    • Model Landscapes: Miniaturized for use in model train sets or dioramas to provide realistic vegetation representative of certain regions.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Bell Heather is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Bell Heather is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Independence: Erica cinerea, commonly known as bell heather, often symbolizes independence due to its capacity to grow in poor, rocky soils where few other plants can thrive.
    • Solitude: Its habitat on moors and heathlands, away from other plant communities, has made it a symbol of solitude.
    • Beauty: The bell-shaped flowers of the Erica cinerea 'Alba Minor', despite being a white form, share the beauty symbolism of their typically purple-flowered counterparts.
    • Protection: In folk traditions, heather has been thought to possess protective qualities, offering safety against threats and bad luck.
    • Good Fortune: Heather is also commonly associated with good fortune, particularly in Scottish lore, where it is considered lucky, especially when white.
    • Admiration: The plant's hardy nature and ability to thrive in challenging environments symbolize admiration for resilience and determination.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Bell Heather requires consistent moisture, especially during its growing season in spring and summer. It should be watered whenever the soil begins to dry out, which is approximately once or twice a week, depending on climate conditions. Use roughly 1 gallon of water each time for outdoor plants to ensure deep watering that reaches the root zone. Indoor potted plants will need about 8-16 ounces of water, adjusted based on pot size and indoor conditions. Reduce watering in the fall and winter when the plant is not actively growing.

  • sunLight

    Bell Heather thrives in full sunlight to partial shade, so it's best to position the plant in a spot where it will receive at least six hours of sunlight per day. An east or west-facing location can provide the optimal balance of morning or afternoon sun with some protection from the harsh midday sun, which is particularly important in hotter climates.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bell Heather prefers a cool to moderate climate and can tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F and as high as 75°F. The ideal temperature range for Bell Heather is between 60°F and 70°F. Extreme heat or cold can be detrimental to the plant, so it should be protected from frost and provided with some shade or ventilation during hot weather.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Bell Heather is done to maintain its shape, encourage bushy growth, and remove spent flowers. The best time to prune is after flowering in late summer or early fall. Cut back the flowering shoots by about one-third their length, being careful not to cut into the woody, non-leafy part of the stem. Pruning should be performed annually to prevent the plant from becoming leggy.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Bell Heather ('Alba Minor') thrives in acidic, well-draining soil. A mix of 50% peat, 30% perlite, and 20% pine bark suits it well. Maintain soil pH between 4.5 to 5.5 for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Bell Heather should be repotted every two to three years to refresh the soil and promote healthy growth, being careful not to damage the delicate root system during the process.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Bell Heather prefers moderate humidity levels, but it is quite adaptable and can tolerate the humidity levels typically found in most homes.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Bell Heather in bright, indirect light with good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to partial shade with acidic soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Erica cinerea f. alba 'Alba Minor', commonly known as white heather, begins its life as a seed, which upon finding suitable conditions, germinates and develops a root system and a shoot that emerges from the soil. As a seedling, it produces leaves and gradually matures into a young plant, also known as a juvenile plant, during which it establishes a more extensive root system and begins to grow its distinctive foliage. Through the vegetative stage, it continues to grow in size and strength, amassing a bushy structure with needle-like leaves. Upon reaching maturity, the white heather enters the reproductive stage, characterized by the production of white flowers that attract pollinators and are capable of setting seeds. Following pollination and fertilization, seeds are produced and dispersed, completing the reproductive cycle. Eventually, as the plant ages, it enters senescence, where growth slows and it may die, although it can live for many years before reaching this final stage.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagation for the white heath (`Erica cinerea f. alba 'Alba Minor'`) is by semi-ripe cuttings. This usually takes place in late summer, where you select healthy shoots from the current year's growth. The cuttings should be about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 centimeters) long, with the lower leaves removed. These cuttings are then dipped in rooting hormone and inserted into a mixture of equal parts peat and perlite or horticultural sand. They should be placed in a propagator or covered with a plastic bag to maintain high humidity, and kept in a bright place out of direct sunlight. Roots typically develop within weeks to a couple of months, after which they can be potted on.