Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida'

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


Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida', commonly known as Scots heather or ling, is a small, evergreen shrub renowned for its distinctive foliage and flowers. The leaves are tiny, scale-like, and borne in opposite pairs, lending the shrub a fine-textured, almost feathery appearance. Its growth habit is dense and mounded, which contributes to its popularity in garden landscapes. The 'Alba Rigida' variety is particularly notable for its attractive, white flowers that appear in late summer to fall, forming conspicuous, spikelike racemes that stand out against the green foliage. These blooms are favored by bees and butterflies, making the plant a beneficial addition for supporting local pollinators. Throughout the year, the plant displays a mix of colors, with the foliage sometimes taking on a purple or bronze tint in the cooler months, adding seasonal interest. This hardiness and color variation, combined with the contrast of the white flowers, make Scots heather 'Alba Rigida' a visually appealing and versatile choice for gardens.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Scotch Heather, Ling Heather, Scottish Heather

    • Common names

      Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Heather, specifically the Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida', is not known to be toxic to humans. As with many plants, individuals may have varying sensitivities, and it’s always prudent to avoid ingesting parts of ornamental plants due to potential pesticide application or other contaminants. However, there is no widespread evidence of heather causing poisoning in humans upon ingestion.

    • To pets

      Heather is generally considered non-toxic to pets. The Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida' variant should not pose a risk of poisoning to cats, dogs, or other domestic animals if ingested in small quantities. That being said, ingestion of plant material can sometimes cause mild stomach upset in pets due to the fiber content or individual sensitivities, so it is always best to prevent pets from eating plants not intended for consumption.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for gardeners with limited time.
    • Drought Tolerant: Can survive with little water, suitable for dry climates and water-conserving gardens.
    • Attracts Wildlife: Provides food and habitat for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
    • Winter Interest: Retains its structure and color in winter, adding visual appeal to the garden during dormant months.
    • Soil Erosion Control: Its dense growth habit helps stabilize soil on slopes and prevent erosion.
    • Ground Cover: Effective at suppressing weeds due to its mat-forming growth.
    • Adaptable to Various Soils: Thrives in a wide range of soil types, from acidic to slightly alkaline.
    • Decorative Uses: Popular in flower arrangements and as dried flowers due to its persistent blooms and foliage.
    • Landscape Versatility: Suitable for rock gardens, borders, containers, and as an accent plant in diverse landscape designs.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Calluna vulgaris, commonly known as heather, has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Diuretic: Heather has been known to act as a mild diuretic, helping to increase urine production.
    • Antiseptic: The plant has been used for its antiseptic properties, which can help prevent the growth of bacteria.
    • Musculoskeletal treatment: Historically, heather has been used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism due to its potential anti-inflammatory effects.
    • Urinary tract health: It has been utilized for treating urinary tract infections due to its potential antiseptic and diuretic properties.
    • Digestive health: Heather has been used in traditional medicine to address digestive issues, although evidence for its efficacy is limited.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Heather honey production: 'Alba Rigida' nectar is a valuable resource for bees, leading to the production of uniquely flavored honey.
    • Dye source: Historically, various parts of the plant, like the flowers and stems, have been used to create natural dyes with shades ranging from yellow to green.
    • Thatching: In some regions, its stiff stems have been used historically for thatching roofs.
    • Folk art: Dried stems and flowers of the plant are used by crafters to create intricate and decorative pieces of folk art.
    • Fish tank decoration: 'Alba Rigida' can be dried and placed in aquariums as a naturalistic decor, which won't affect the water's pH.
    • Lucky charms: In some cultures, carrying a piece of heather is thought to bring good luck.
    • Beekeeping attraction: Planting 'Alba Rigida' nearby can increase the number of bees in the area, thereby benefiting the pollination of other plants.
    • Firewood: In areas where it grows abundantly, it can be used as a source of firewood once dried.
    • Erosion control: Its dense root system can help stabilize soil and control erosion on slopes and banks.
    • Wildlife habitat: Provides shelter and habitat for various species of birds and small mammals.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant name is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant name is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Protection - Calluna vulgaris, commonly known as Heather, is often considered a symbol of protection due to its hardy nature and ability to thrive in tough conditions, representing resilience and safeguarding.
    • Good luck - In many cultures, heather is carried as a talisman to bring good fortune and ward off evil spirits.
    • Solitude - Heather grows on the open hillsides and moorlands, often standing alone against the elements, symbolizing self-reliance and a preference for solitude.
    • Admiration - The plant’s ability to bloom in harsh environments signifies admiration for one's ability to succeed against odds.
    • Beauty - Despite the rugged terrain where it grows, heather has delicate and attractive flowers, representing the idea that beauty can exist in unexpected places.

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

    Heather, specifically the Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida', should be watered deeply but infrequently, maintaining a consistent moisture level without causing waterlogged soil. Typically, heather plants should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry, which could be once or twice a week depending on weather conditions. During hot, dry periods, more frequent watering may be necessary. A general rule is to provide about 1 gallon per plant per watering session for established plants. Adjust the amount of water you provide seasonally, reducing the frequency during the colder months when the plants are not actively growing.

  • sunLight

    Heather thrives best in full sun to partial shade conditions, requiring at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. The ideal spot for Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida' is in a location that gets morning sun and partial shade during the hottest part of the afternoon to avoid scorching the foliage. However, it can tolerate and adapt to varying light conditions, making it versatile for garden planting.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The ideal temperature range for Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida', commonly known as Heather, is between 60°F to 70°F during the day and slightly cooler at night. However, it can withstand temperatures down to 20°F and is hardy up to 80°F. Heather plants are resilient to cold and can survive winter months in many climates without issue.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Heather to maintain its shape and encourage new growth, typically after it has flowered. For Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida', the best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins, removing only the top third of the plant. Pruning should be done annually to prevent the center of the plant from becoming woody and to promote lush, dense foliage.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Heather requires well-draining acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. The best soil mix is a blend of peat moss, sand, and pine bark, which ensures proper drainage and acidity.

  • plantRepotting

    Heather should generally be repotted every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Heather prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is adaptable to less humid conditions as long as the soil moisture is maintained.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light and cool temperatures for heather indoors.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to part shade in acidic soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-6 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Heather 'Alba Rigida' starts its life as a seed, which upon germination, develops into a small seedling. This seedling then experiences a period of vegetative growth, where it develops a woody stem and small, needle-like leaves typical of the heather plant. The plant reaches maturity and begins its reproductive phase, producing white flowers usually in late summer to fall, which are pollinated by insects. After pollination, seeds form and are dispersed by wind or animals, which can lead to the establishment of new plants. During winter, Heather 'Alba Rigida' enters a period of dormancy, with reduced metabolic activity, allowing it to survive cold temperatures. It will continue this life cycle, living for many years as a perennial plant, growing slowly and expanding its coverage of the ground.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer to early autumn

    • Calluna vulgaris 'Alba Rigida', commonly known as Scotch heather, is typically propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings. The ideal time for taking cuttings is during mid to late summer, which roughly corresponds to July through September. To propagate Scotch heather using this method, select a healthy, disease-free stem and cut a piece approximately 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long. Strip the lower leaves, dip the cut end in rooting hormone to encourage root growth, and insert it into a pot filled with a well-draining potting mix. The cutting should then be placed in a humid, indirect light environment until roots have established, which can take several weeks. Once rooted, the cutting can be transplanted into the garden or into a larger pot to continue growing.