Sun exposure:
Full sun, partial shade
South facing, west facing


Acidic / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

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.

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.

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.

This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.

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

Plant calendar

Take cuttingsyesyesyes
Cut backyes

Calluna and wildlife

Calluna is known for attracting bees.

Is known to attract Bees
Is not known to attract Beneficial insects
Beneficial insects
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Butterflies/​Moths
Is not known to attract Other pollinators
Other pollinators

Is Calluna poisonous?

Calluna has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People