Bell Heather Erica cinerea

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


The plant commonly known as bell heather boasts a rich tapestry of needle-like, evergreen leaves which create a dense, bushy appearance. These leaves, arrayed in whorls around the stems, display a dark green hue that provides a striking contrast against the vibrant flowers. The blooms of bell heather emerge in profusion, casting a blanket of color over the plant. They are shaped like miniature bells or urns, with a beautiful range from purples to pinks, sometimes even veering into white. The delicate flowers cluster toward the ends of the stems, creating a strikingly colorful display that catches the eye and adds a splash of color to the plant's surroundings. Overall, the bell heather is known for its lush foliage and bountiful blooms that contribute to its visual appeal in gardens and natural landscapes alike.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Bell Heather, Twisted Heath

    • Common names

      Erica cinerea var. minor, Erica cinerea var. cinerea.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Erica cinerea, commonly known as bell heather, is not listed as a toxic plant to humans. There are no well-known toxic effects associated with ingesting the bell heather. However, as with any plant, individual allergies or sensitivities could potentially cause reactions in some people.

    • To pets

      Bell heather is also not known to be toxic to pets. It is not listed amongst plants that are commonly associated with poisoning in domestic animals. However, as with humans, individual pets may have allergies or sensitivities that could result in mild gastrointestinal upset if they ingest parts of the plant. It is always best to prevent pets from eating plants not meant for consumption, as they might cause irritation or other non-toxic related issues.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot 6 inches (45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental value: Erica cinerea, commonly known as Bell Heather, is appreciated for its beautiful purple or pink flowers that bloom in the summer, adding color and visual interest to gardens.
    • Habitat for wildlife: Bell Heather provides a food source for various pollinators, including bees and butterflies, helping to support local ecosystems.
    • Soil stabilization: This plant is effective in stabilizing soil and preventing erosion, especially in heathland and moorland landscapes where it naturally thrives.
    • Drought resistance: Once established, Bell Heather is relatively drought-tolerant, reducing the need for frequent watering and making it suitable for xeriscaping.
    • Low maintenance: It requires minimal care once established, making it an ideal choice for gardeners looking for plants that do not demand a lot of time and resources.
    • Adaptability: Erica cinerea can grow in a variety of soil types, though it prefers acidic conditions, which allows it to thrive in environments where other plants might struggle.
    • Use in traditional crafts: Historically, Bell Heather has been used to make brooms and thatching, contributing to local handicraft traditions.

  • 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

    • Erica cinerea, commonly known as bell heather, can be used as a natural dye; the flowers are known to produce a range of colors from green to yellow, depending on the mordant used.
    • In landscaping, bell heather is utilized for ground cover due to its low-growing, mat-forming nature, which can help prevent soil erosion on slopes and banks.
    • The dense foliage of bell heather provides a sanctuary for small wildlife, like insects and ground-nesting birds, offering them protection from predators.
    • Floriculture enthusiasts often use bell heather in rock gardens for its attractive evergreen foliage and its ability to thrive in poor, acidic soils.
    • The flowers of bell heather are a valuable source of nectar for bees and butterflies, making it an excellent choice for pollinator-friendly gardens.
    • Bell heather is used in traditional thatching practices in some regions, with its stems providing a durable material for roofing.
    • The woody stems of bell heather have been historically used to create small handcrafted items, such as brooms and decorative brushes.
    • In certain cultures, dried bell heather was used as bedding for animals, providing a soft and aromatic layer in barns and stables.
    • Bell heather, with its vibrant purple flowers, is sometimes included in floral arrangements and bouquets for its visual appeal and color contrast.
    • During certain festivals or cultural celebrations, bell heather is gathered and used as a symbol of good luck and protection against harm.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Heather is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Heather is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Loneliness: Erica cinerea, commonly known as bell heather, often grows in poor, desolate soil, which can symbolize solitude or the ability to thrive in isolation.
    • Protection: In some traditions, bell heather is believed to offer protection due to its resilience in harsh environments.
    • Admiration: Its vibrant purple flowers can represent admiration for someone's strength and beauty.
    • Good Fortune: Bell heather has been associated with good luck, particularly in Scotland where it is considered a lucky charm.
    • New Beginnings: Due to its growth in challenging terrain, it can symbolize overcoming adversity and starting anew.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Bell Heather, or Erica cinerea, prefers consistent moisture without being waterlogged. During active growth in spring and summer, water approximately once a week, ensuring the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall or about 0.5 gallons per square foot. In cooler months, reduce watering but do not allow the soil to completely dry out. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering to prevent overwatering.

  • sunLight

    Bell Heather thrives in full sunlight, requiring at least six hours of direct sun daily. Optimal growth is achieved when the plant is placed in a spot where it can receive unobstructed morning and afternoon light. Limited shade is tolerated, but too much shade can lead to leggy growth and fewer blooms.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bell Heather is hardy and can withstand a range of temperatures, but it performs best when the temperature is between 60°F and 70°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to 10°F and maximum temperatures up to 80°F, but prolonged exposure to extremes can stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Bell Heather is crucial for maintaining a compact shape and encouraging new growth. Prune immediately after flowering, typically in late summer, by cutting back the spent flower stems and lightly shaping the plant. Do this annually to prevent the heather from becoming woody and bare at the base.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Bell heather (Erica cinerea) thrives best in free-draining, acidic soil with a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5. A mixture of peat, sand, and loamy soil in equal parts will create the ideal growing conditions for this heathland species. To replicate its native habitat, the soil mix should be low in fertility and mimic the nutrient-poor conditions it naturally prefers.

  • plantRepotting

    Bell heather should be repotted every 2 to 3 years to avoid becoming root-bound and to refresh the soil. Spring is the best time for repotting to minimize stress on the plant.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Bell heather prefers a moderately humid environment, but as a hardy plant native to open heathland, it can tolerate a range of humidity levels. It does not require the high humidity that some other plants might and is quite adaptable to average outdoor conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place bell heather in a bright, cool spot indoors with acid soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant bell heather in acidic soil, full sun, protect from harsh winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of Erica cinerea, commonly known as bell heather, begins with seed germination, which is dependent on appropriate temperature and moisture conditions. Following germination, seedlings establish themselves and progress to the vegetative growth stage, where the plant develops its characteristic needle-like leaves and woody stem structure. After reaching maturity, which can take several years, bell heather enters the flowering stage during summer, producing its distinctive bell-shaped, purple flowers, which are important for attracting pollinating insects. Once pollination occurs, the plant produces seed capsules that contain numerous tiny seeds, completing the reproductive cycle. These seeds are then dispersed by wind or animals, ready to begin a new cycle. Bell heather can also spread vegetatively through its rhizomes, enabling it to colonize a larger area.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer

    • The most popular method for propagating Heather (Erica cinerea) is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This process generally takes place in late summer, after the plant has bloomed and the new growth has started to mature and harden slightly. To propagate, select healthy stems and cut a piece around 2–4 inches (5–10 centimeters) long, making sure each cutting has a few leaves. The bottom of the cuttings should be dipped in rooting hormone to increase the chances of successful rooting. Afterwards, the cuttings are inserted into a pot filled with a mixture of peat and perlite or a similar well-draining propagation medium. The environment should be kept humid, and the cuttings should be placed under indirect light until they root, which usually takes several weeks. Once roots have developed and the plants show new growth, they can be transplanted into individual pots or to their final location in the garden.