Heather Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
heather 'Mair's Variety'


Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety', commonly known as heather, is a small, evergreen shrub that boasts a dense, mound-like habit. The plant's foliage is characterized by tiny, scale-like leaves that cling closely to its numerous, slender branches. These leaves typically display a rich, green hue which can sometimes take on purplish or bronze tints in the cooler months, adding seasonal interest to the plant's appearance. One of the most striking features of 'Mair's Variety' heather are its flowers. The plant produces small, bell-shaped blooms that form in dense, terminal racemes at the tips of the branches. These flowers are usually a vibrant shade of magenta or deep purple-pink, standing out against the green backdrop of the foliage. Flowering occurs from late summer into fall, offering a long-lasting display that can attract bees and butterflies to the garden. The overall texture of 'Mair's Variety' is fine and needle-like, creating a soft, feathery visual effect. This textural quality, combined with its colorful blooms and foliage, makes it a popular choice for adding contrast and interest to rock gardens, borders, and ground cover plantings. The plant is also appreciated for its low-maintenance needs and its resilience in a variety of growing conditions.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Scots Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather, Heather

    • Common names

      Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Heather is generally considered non-toxic to humans. There are no well-documented cases of poisoning in humans from consuming or handling Heathers, including Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety'. Therefore, ingesting parts of this plant is not commonly associated with toxic symptoms or adverse health consequences in humans.

    • To pets

      Heather is also considered non-toxic to pets. While all plants can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large quantities simply due to the fibrous plant material, Heather is not known to contain substances that are poisonous to pets. Therefore, consuming parts of the Heather plant is not expected to result in serious poisoning or long-term health issues for pets. Nonetheless, it's wise to monitor pets to prevent them from eating large amounts of any non-food plant, as this could still bring about discomfort or digestive issues.

  • 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

    • Attracts Pollinators: Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety', commonly known as Scots Heather, is favored by bees and butterflies, which are essential for pollination.
    • Low Maintenance: Scots Heather is a hardy plant that requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for low-maintenance gardens.
    • Year-Round Interest: This variety offers year-round visual interest with its evergreen foliage and blooms, adding color to the garden in all seasons.
    • Erosion Control: The dense growth habit of Scots Heather helps stabilize soil and can be used to prevent erosion on slopes.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, it can tolerate periods of drought, reducing the need for constant watering and making it suitable for dry climates.
    • Wildlife Habitat: This plant provides shelter and habitat for wildlife, supporting biodiversity in your garden.
    • Landscape Design: Its compact size and texture make it a versatile choice for rock gardens, borders, and groundcover applications.
    • Winter Hardiness: Scots Heather is known for its ability to withstand cold winter temperatures, making it suitable for gardens in cooler climates.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Calluna vulgaris, commonly known as Heather, has been traditionally used for its diuretic properties, helping to increase urine production.
    • It has been used in folk medicine as an antiseptic for urinary tract infections.
    • Heather is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and has been used to treat arthritis and rheumatism.
    • The plant has been used to soothe coughs and colds due to its expectorant properties.
    • It is sometimes used in the treatment of digestive issues, such as diarrhea and dysentery.
    • Heather has mild sedative effects and has been utilized in treating insomnia and anxiety.
    • It is said to have detoxifying effects and has been used in supporting the detoxification processes of the liver and kidneys.
    Please consult professional healthcare providers before considering the use of herbs for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Heather Honey Production: Heather, including Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety', is a favored plant by bees for its nectar, leading to the production of heather honey, which is thick and gelatinous with a strong, aromatic flavor.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Heather provides valuable cover and nesting opportunities for wildlife, particularly ground-nesting birds such as the red grouse in the UK.
    • Traditional Roof Thatching: In certain regions, heather has been historically used for thatching roofs, providing insulation and waterproofing to homes.
    • Landscape Gardening: This variety of heather is often used in rock gardens, heather gardens, or as ground cover to add color and texture to the landscape.
    • Fashion and Jewelry: Heather stems and flowers can be dried and used to create natural brooches, earrings, or other forms of botanical jewelry.
    • Festive Decorations: The branches of Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety' are used to make attractive natural wreaths and other decorations for events and holidays.
    • Eco-friendly Dye: The plant can be used to produce a natural dye for textiles in shades of yellow, green, or tan, depending on the mordant used.
    • Bioindicator: Heather is used as a bioindicator plant in ecological studies because its presence can indicate the health of the ecosystem where it grows.
    • Brewing Beer: Heather has been used historically in the brewing of heather ale, providing a distinctive floral flavor to the beverage.
    • Moorland Management: Heather is an important species in moorland management, used in controlled burning called 'muirburn' to manage the landscape and encourage new growth.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Heather is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Heather is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Luck and good fortune: Heather, also known as Calluna vulgaris, is often associated with luck due to its abundance in the moors and its resilience in tough conditions.
    • Protection: Heather has been considered a safeguard against harmful energies and was traditionally used to thatch roofs, providing literal protection.
    • Admiration and beauty: The aesthetic appeal of Heather's delicate flowers symbolizes admiration for natural beauty.
    • Independence: The ability of this plant to thrive in harsh, open environments is seen as a testament to self-sufficiency and independence.
    • Solitude: With its preference for growing in quiet, undisturbed places, Heather can symbolize a love for solitude or contemplation.

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

    Heather, or Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety', requires consistent moisture but does not do well in soggy soil. During the growth season, typically spring through fall, water this heather plant whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, which could be approximately once or twice a week depending on climate conditions. However, in winter, the watering needs reduce significantly and you should only water sparingly to prevent the soil from completely drying out, maybe every few weeks. The amount of water should generally be around 1 gallon per plant each time you water during the active growth season, ensuring that water reaches the roots but does not oversaturate the soil.

  • sunLight

    Heather thrives best in full to partial sunlight. It should be placed in a spot where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight daily, though it can tolerate partial shade, especially in regions with very intense sunshine. Avoid deeply shaded areas, as too little light can cause poor flowering and leggy growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Heather is hardy and can tolerate a range of temperatures, typically between 20°F and 70°F. It can survive short periods of colder spells down to around 10°F but prefers cooler summer temperatures that do not consistently exceed 70°F. Ideally, heather should be grown in conditions where the temperature remains moderate, avoiding both extreme winter chills and high summer heat.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune heather in late winter or early spring to maintain its shape and encourage robust growth. It's best to prune lightly immediately after the plants have flowered, cutting back about 1/3 of the growth. Pruning heather annually will help prevent it from becoming woody and sparse.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Heather, commonly known as Heather 'Mair's Variety', prefers well-drained, moist soil with a high organic content. A suitable soil mix would include equal parts of peat, sand, and loamy soil, ensuring good drainage and retention of moisture. The ideal pH for Heather is acidic, ranging from pH 4.5 to 6.

  • plantRepotting

    Heather 'Mair's Variety' typically requires repotting every two to three years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth. It's best to repot in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Heather 'Mair's Variety' thrives in moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable to less humid environments if not too dry. Ensuring good air circulation around the plant can help prevent fungal issues that might arise in high humidity conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light and keep soil slightly moist for indoor Heather.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sunny spot with acidic, well-draining soil for outdoor Heather.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety', commonly known as Heather, begins its life cycle from seed germination which occurs in well-drained, acidic soils, often in early spring. After germination, the plant enters a vegetative stage, where it produces foliage and establishes a root system; this hardy shrub prefers full sun to partial shade. During the summer months, Heather transitions into the flowering stage, producing small, bell-shaped flowers that can range in color and attract a variety of pollinators. After pollination, Heather sets seed which will mature and disperse in late summer or fall, allowing the cycle to begin anew. During winter, Heather enters a period of dormancy where growth slows; it is evergreen and retains its needle-like leaves throughout the season. Over years, the shrub grows slowly and can become woody, and if conditions allow, it can live for several decades, creating dense mats of ground cover.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer to autumn

    • The most popular method of propagation for Calluna vulgaris 'Mair's Variety', commonly known as Scotch heather, is through semi-hardwood cuttings. The ideal time to take these cuttings is in late summer after the blooms have faded. A section of the plant stem, approximately 4 to 6 inches long, with several leaves attached, should be cut just below a node. The lower leaves are then removed, and the cut end could be dipped into a rooting hormone powder to enhance rooting success. The prepared cutting should be inserted into a well-draining potting mix and kept moist but not soggy. Covering the potted cutting with a plastic bag can help maintain humidity during the rooting process, which typically takes several weeks. Once rooted, the new plants can be gradually acclimated to outdoor conditions and planted in their final location.