Heather Calluna vulgaris

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


C. vulgaris has narrow, linear, small, evergreen leaves. Spikes of urn-shaped pink or pale purple flowers which are either single or double are borne from mid-summer to autumn. Plants reach around 60cm in height. Many cultivars have been both selected and bred

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Heather, Ling, Scotch Heather.

    • Common names

      Calluna vulgaris var. chamaecistus, Calluna vulgaris var. hirsuta, Calluna vulgaris var. intermedia, Calluna vulgaris var. sericea, Calluna vulgaris var. vulgaris, Erica vulgaris.

  • 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

    • Ornamental Value: Heather is widely used in gardens and landscapes for its attractive evergreen foliage and small, bell-shaped flowers.
    • Habitat Support: It provides habitat and food for various wildlife species, including bees and butterflies, which are essential pollinators.
    • Soil Stabilization: Heather's extensive root system helps prevent soil erosion, making it valuable for land reclamation and stabilizing banks.
    • Drought Resistance: Heather is well adapted to survive in dry, poor soil conditions, reducing the need for watering and maintenance.
    • Frost Tolerance: It is also capable of withstanding frost and can survive in cold climates, expanding its range of use in different garden zones.
    • Year-Round Interest: With its evergreen foliage and seasonal blooms, heather provides visual interest in gardens throughout the year.
    • Cultural Significance: Heather has a long history of use and symbolism in various cultures, especially within Celtic and Nordic traditions, and can be used in culturally inspired garden designs.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Heather, commonly known as Calluna vulgaris, may possess anti-inflammatory properties which can help soothe inflammation.
    • Antiseptic: The plant has been traditionally used for its antiseptic qualities, which can aid in preventing the growth of microorganisms.
    • Diuretic: Heather is considered to have diuretic effects, which means it can promote the production of urine, aiding in the removal of excess fluids from the body.
    • Antimicrobial: It may exhibit antimicrobial activity that can be useful in fighting off certain bacteria or fungi.
    • Sedative: There are claims that Heather has sedative properties that can help in reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Broom Making: Heather twigs from Calluna vulgaris have traditionally been bound together to create brooms for sweeping.
    • Dye Production: The plant has historically been used to create natural dyes for wool, with different parts of the plant yielding various shades such as yellow, green, or orange.
    • Honey Production: Heather is a valuable plant for beekeepers as it produces abundant nectar, which bees convert into a strongly flavored, jelly-like honey known as heather honey.
    • Livestock Fodder: In some regions, heather is used as winter fodder for sheep and cattle when other feed is scarce.
    • Thatch Roofing: Historically, heather has been used as a roofing material in some rural areas to create water-resistant thatch.
    • Garden Mulch: Dried heather can be used as a decorative and functional mulch in gardens to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Dense heather growth provides shelter and breeding grounds for various wildlife species, including ground-nesting birds.
    • Insulation: Heather has been used in the past as a natural insulation material in walls and floors of rural homes.
    • Traditional Crafts: Heather is incorporated into traditional crafts, such as the making of small decorative items like jewelry, baskets, and ornaments.
    • Fermented Beverages: Some cultures have used heather to brew alcoholic beverages, such as heather ale, a traditional Scottish beer.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Heather is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Heather is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Protection: Calluna vulgaris, commonly known as Heather, is often associated with protective qualities, both in physical and spiritual realms. In some traditions, it was believed to guard against evil and negative energies.
    • Good luck: Heather is believed to bring good fortune. It's common to include it in charms or bouquets intended to attract positive outcomes or to gift it as a symbol of luck.
    • Admiration: Offering Heather can be a sign of admiration, as the resilience and hardiness of the plant can reflect the strength of one's feelings towards another person.
    • Solitude: Due to its preference for growing in barren areas, Heather is sometimes symbolic of solitude or the enjoyment of one's own company, representing independence and self-reliance.
    • Beauty: The beautiful, colorful blooms of Heather are symbols of beauty, particularly a beauty that stands out amidst harsh surroundings, representing the idea of blooming where one is planted.
    • New beginnings: As Heather often pioneers in tough environments, it symbolizes new beginnings and the start of something new, encouraging one to take the first steps in a new venture or phase of life.
    • Healing: Historically, Heather was used for medicinal purposes, making it symbolic of healing, both physical and emotional.

Every 2-4 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late summer to autumn
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Heather, or Calluna vulgaris, prefers even moisture and should not be allowed to dry out completely, nor should it be waterlogged. It's best to water this plant once or twice a week, providing about 1 gallon of water per plant at each watering session, depending on the weather conditions. Less frequent watering might be necessary if the weather is cool or if the plant is in a less sunny location. During hotter and drier periods, checking the soil's moisture regularly can help determine if additional water is needed. Always aim to keep the soil consistently moist, but take care not to overwater, as Heather does not tolerate standing water.

  • sunLight

    For optimal growth, Heather needs full sun to part shade. The plant thrives best when it's placed in a location where it can receive at least four to six hours of direct sunlight daily. However, in areas with very hot summers, providing some afternoon shade can prevent scorching of the leaves.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Heather is hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. It survives in temperatures as low as 0°F and can withstand summer heat up to 80°F, but its ideal thriving temperatures range from 60°F to 70°F. Ensure good air circulation around the plant to help maintain its preferred temperature range.

  • scissorsPruning

    Heather should be pruned annually to maintain its shape, encourage new growth, and prevent it from becoming woody. Pruning should be done in early spring, just before new growth starts, by lightly trimming off the previous year's flowered stems. Depending on the size of the plant, pruning may also include shaping to keep the plant compact and attractive.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Heather, or Calluna vulgaris, thrives in well-draining, acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. The ideal soil mix for heather is one part peat moss, one part sand, and two parts loamy soil. This combination allows for proper drainage and acidity, creating a suitable environment for the plant to flourish.

  • plantRepotting

    Heather plants don't need to be repotted often; every three to four years is usually sufficient. This allows the plant to grow without becoming root-bound and also refreshes the nutrient content of the soil. It's best to repot in the late winter or early spring, just before the new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Heather plants prefer moderate humidity levels. While they tolerate a range of humidity conditions, they thrive when the air isn't too dry. It's important to maintain natural ambient humidity around the plant, without the need for additional misting or humidity trays, as long as the environment isn't exceptionally dry.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Heather in bright, indirect light with acidic soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Heather in acidic soil, full sun to part shade.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-6 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of Calluna vulgaris, commonly known as Scottish heather, begins with seed germination where the tiny seeds develop into small seedlings, typically flourishing in open, well-drained acidic soils. These seedlings mature into perennial shrubs with woody stems, reaching up to 50 cm in height, and the plants can spread out with their stems rooting at intervals. Scottish heather blooms from late summer to autumn, producing small, bell-shaped flowers that can be pink, purple, or white, which are pollinated by a variety of insects. After flowering, the plant produces small seed capsules that release seeds, completing the reproductive cycle. With a well-developed root system, Calluna vulgaris can also propagate vegetatively through layering, thus ensuring local dominance and persistence. Scottish heather naturally undergoes a period of winter dormancy, with growth resuming in spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer to autumn

    • The most popular method of propagation for Calluna vulgaris, commonly known as heather, is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This process is typically done in late summer. Cuttings should be around 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long and should be taken from healthy, non-flowering stems. The lower leaves are removed and the cut end dipped into rooting hormone to encourage root growth. These prepared cuttings are then planted in a mixture of peat and perlite to provide good drainage and aeration. The cuttings should be kept under high humidity and moderate light until they root, a process that usually takes several weeks to a few months. Once rooted, the new heather plants can be transplanted to their final growing locations.