Calluna vulgaris

Calluna vulgaris

Heather

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

  • Botanical name: Calluna vulgaris
  • Common name: Heather
  • Family: Ericaceae

Heather (Calluna vulgaris) offers year-round interest, with masses of summer flowers and evergreen foliage. It’s a familiar sight in the wild on moorlands and lowland heaths, growing in such profusion that the land appears to turn purple in the late summer months and filling the air with a honey-like scent from the nectar-rich blooms which are a valuable food source for bees.

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Many varieties of heather have been bred for the garden with flowers in a range of colours that include reds, pinks, purples and white, and some with foliage coloured orange or yellow. There are also varieties known as ‘bud bloomers’ that offer a particularly long season of interest as the flower buds never open fully but remain colourful for many weeks. This versatile, very hardy little shrub forms low, bushy or spreading mounds of slender stems clothed with narrow, evergreen leaves which are smothered with masses of tiny, bell-shaped flowers in summer or autumn.

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Calluna vulgaris is easy to grow and long lived providing it is planted in acid (lime free) soil, or in peat-free ericaceous compost if grown in pots or raised beds. Heathers look best planted in groups or drifts and suit a range of sites including border edges, banks, rockeries, raised beds, and pots. They make good, weed-smothering, non-invasive ground cover. Keep plants neat and encourage bushy growth by shearing off the stems that have produced flowers, in early spring.

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Advice on buying Calluna vulgaris

  • Buy heather as pot grown plants all year round from nurseries, garden centres, or online
  • Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before planting

Where to buy Calluna vulgaris

How to grow Calluna vulgaris

  • Plant size

    45cm height

    60cm spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Sun exposure: Full sun, partial shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Acidic / well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Cut back
Cut back

Do not Cut back in January

Do not Cut back in February

Do Cut back in March

Do not Cut back in April

Do not Cut back in May

Do not Cut back in June

Do not Cut back in July

Do not Cut back in August

Do not Cut back in September

Do not Cut back in October

Do not Cut back in November

Do not Cut back in December

Calluna vulgaris and wildlife

Calluna vulgaris is known for attracting bees.

Attractive to Bees

Does not attract Beneficial insects

Does not attract Birds

Does not attract Butterflies​/​Moths

Does not attract Other pollinators

Is Calluna vulgaris poisonous?

Calluna vulgaris has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People