Irish Heath Erica erigena f. alba 'W.t. Rackliff'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Irish heath 'W.T. Rackliff'


The plant known as the 'W.T. Rackliff' has a visually appealing appearance characterized by its pure white, bell-shaped flowers that stand out against the green foliage. These delicate flowers are grouped densely together, creating a striking contrast with the dark green, needle-like leaves that provide a lush backdrop throughout the year. The overall form of the plant is bushy, with numerous branches that give it a full and rounded shape. As an evergreen plant, it retains this vibrant green foliage throughout all seasons, lending consistent color to garden spaces. This particular variety is noted for its toughness and resilience, which is evident in its robust and glossy leaves. Additionally, the white blossoms not only add to the visual charm but also emit a subtle, pleasant fragrance that can be enjoyed during its flowering period. This combination of features makes 'W.T. Rackliff' an attractive choice for gardeners seeking to create a serene and picturesque setting in their outdoor spaces.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Irish Heath, White Irish Heath.

    • Common names

      Erica erigena f. alba 'W.T. Rackliff'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The common name for Erica erigena f. alba 'W.T. Rackliff' is Irish heath. Generally, members of the Erica genus are not considered highly toxic to humans. However, it's advisable to exercise caution as some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to certain plants, which might cause symptoms such as mild gastrointestinal upset or skin irritation upon handling or ingestion. If any part of the plant is ingested in significant quantities or if an allergic reaction is suspected, it would be prudent to seek medical attention.

    • To pets

      Irish heath is the common name for Erica erigena f. alba 'W.T. Rackliff.' This plant is not widely recognized as being toxic to pets, such as cats and dogs. Nevertheless, the ingestion of any non-food plant material can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset in pets, which may include symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. While the Irish heath is not specifically listed as poisonous, it's best to keep an eye on pets and prevent them from ingesting the plant. If a pet does eat a portion of the plant and exhibits adverse reactions, contacting a veterinarian is recommended.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 meters)

    • Spread

      3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Provides a source of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies, which helps support local ecosystems.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, it requires minimal care, making it ideal for busy gardeners or those with a low-maintenance approach to gardening.
    • Drought Tolerance: Can survive with limited water supply, which is beneficial in arid climates or during periods of water restrictions.
    • Year-Round Interest: Offers evergreen foliage that provides visual interest in the garden throughout the year.
    • Erosion Control: The plant's root system can help stabilize soil on slopes, reducing erosion.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: Adds beauty to landscapes with its delicate white flowers and evergreen foliage, enhancing garden design.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Provides shelter and breeding sites for various small wildlife species, contributing to biodiversity.
    • Hardiness: Adaptable to a range of climates and can tolerate frost, making it suitable for many temperate regions.

  • 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

    • Miniature Bonsai: Due to its small leaves and slow growth, the Irish Heath can be trained into a miniature bonsai for ornamental purposes.
    • Photography Prop: The Irish Heath, with its delicate white flowers, provides an excellent, naturalistic backdrop for macro photography.
    • Nature-Themed Artwork: Artists can use the Irish Heath as a model or an actual component in collages to add depth and texture to nature-themed artwork.
    • Educational Tool: This plant can be used to help children learn about botany and the life cycle of plants through observation and care.
    • Garden Border Definition: Its compact growth habit makes the Irish Heath ideal for defining the edges of pathways or borders within a garden landscape.
    • Winter Garden Interest: The evergreen nature of the Irish Heath adds color and life to gardens during the drab winter months.
    • Craft Projects: Dried Irish Heath flowers can be used in craft projects such as wreaths and dried flower arrangements.
    • Insect Habitat: Planting Irish Heath provides a natural habitat for beneficial garden insects like bees and butterflies.
    • Theme Gardens: Irish Heath can be included in cultural or region-specific theme gardens to represent Irish flora.
    • Culinary Garnish: Although not common, the flowers can sometimes be used as a non-toxic decorative garnish for dishes in high-end culinary presentations.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Irish Heath is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Irish Heath is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Endurance - Erica plants in general, including the 'W.T. Rackliff', symbolize endurance due to their ability to thrive in challenging conditions and poor soil.
    • Loneliness - They can also symbolize loneliness, as they often grow in isolated places.
    • Protection - Erica plants have been thought to have protective qualities, thus symbolize protection.
    • Solitude - The plant's preference for growing in quiet, undisturbed areas can lead to its association with solitude.
    • Beauty - Despite harsh growing conditions, the 'W.T. Rackliff' variety, with its white flowers, is associated with purity and beauty.

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

    Irish Heather needs consistent moisture, and it's essential to keep the soil lightly moist without making it soggy. You should water about once a week, but this can vary depending on climate conditions and soil drainage. During hot, dry periods, you may need to water more frequently, while in cooler, wetter seasons, watering may be reduced. Aim to provide about 1 gallon of water to the plant weekly, adjusting as needed for weather changes. Instead of shallow watering, make sure to water deeply to encourage strong root growth.

  • sunLight

    Irish Heather thrives best in full sunlight to partial shade conditions. Ideally, you should position it in a spot where it can receive at least four to six hours of direct sunlight each day. While it can tolerate partial shade, too much shade may result in fewer flowers and leggy growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Irish Heather is hardy in a range of temperatures, preferring cooler conditions. The plant can survive minimum temperatures down to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit but is happiest in a range of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing Irish Heather in locations where temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, as high heat can stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Irish Heather should be pruned to remove dead flowers and to maintain its shape. The best time to prune is immediately after blooming, which typically happens in late spring. Pruning at this time encourages new growth and prepares the plant for the next flowering season. Removing about a third of the height of the plant is generally recommended, and this should be done annually.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Irish Heath ('W.t. Rackliff') requires acidic, well-drained soil with a preferred pH range of 4.5 to 5.5. A good mix would be equal parts of peat moss, loam, and sharp sand to ensure proper drainage and acidity.

  • plantRepotting

    Irish Heath ('W.t. Rackliff') should generally be repotted every two to three years during its dormant period to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Irish Heath ('W.t. Rackliff') prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable and can tolerate lower humidity environments common in typical households.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light with acidic soil and moderate humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in acidic soil, partial shade to full sun, shelter from harsh winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Erica erigena, commonly known as Irish Heath or White Irish Heath when referring to the f. alba variety, begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in well-draining, acidic soil under suitable temperature and moisture conditions. After germination, the seedling grows, developing a woody stem and needle-like leaves and becomes an established plant that thrives in full sun to partial shade. During its growth phase, 'W.T. Rackliff' produces white flowers that bloom in late winter to spring, attracting pollinators which facilitate cross-pollination. Following pollination, the plant sets seeds encapsulated in small capsules, which, when mature, are released to begin a new generation. The plant reaches maturity and can continue to grow and bloom for many years, given that it's in a conducive environment with proper care. As a perennial, Erica erigena 'W.T. Rackliff' naturally goes through cycles of growth and dormancy, typically dictated by the seasons, before eventually senescing as part of its life-span.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Erica erigena f. alba 'W.T. Rackliff', commonly known as Irish Heath, is through semi-ripe cuttings. This process typically takes place in late summer. To propagate by cuttings, one would take a semi-ripe piece of stem about 2 to 4 inches long (5 to 10 cm) with several leaves attached. The lower leaves are removed, and the cut end may be dipped in rooting hormone powder to encourage root development. The prepared cutting is then placed in a mix of sand and peat or a perlite-based potting mix, ensuring good drainage. The cutting should be kept in a humid environment with indirect sunlight until roots have developed, which usually takes several weeks to a few months. Once rooted, the new Irish Heath plants can be potted up individually and grown on before being planted out.