Common heather, easygoing all year round

Common heather, also called summer heather, is a beautiful cute plant that blooms generously for a long time.

Key common heather facts

Name – Calluna vulgaris
Family – Ericaceae
Type – heath plant, perennial

Height – 4 to 20 inches (10 to 50 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – heath soil

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – August to April depending on cultivars

Caring for it is easy and it is guaranteed to produce a great decorative impact!

Planting common heather

For Calluna heather, spring is the best time to plant so that it can already bloom end of summer.

If you have chosen winter heather (also called Erica heather), it is better to plant end of summer or during fall.

Water generously at the beginning and provide for maritime pine bark mulch.

  • Unravel the roots that are at the base of the plant.
  • Let the bunch sit in water for a few minutes.
  • Add heath to your garden soil to guarantee proper plant development.
  • The Erica variety tolerates clay and even chalky soil.
  • Growth is relatively slow.
  • Read more on how to plant heather plants.

Another possibility: potted common heather

Because it grows slowly, common heath is actually well suited to growing in pots.

You’ll be surprised to see that this plant can stay for years in the same old 12 inch (30 cm)-deep pot.

  • Be careful though to water regularly, since soil dries up much faster in pots, especially in summer.

Pruning and caring for heather

Common heath is such an easygoing plant that it requires almost no care.

  • Light pruning after blooming is over, without removing old growth.
  • Water in case of prolonged dry spells or heat waves.
  • Add special heath fertilizer in spring.

All there is to know about heath or heather

Common heather is a small shrub that comes in many varieties, each with its own blooming season.

  • If you alternate Calluna vulgaris and Erica heather, you’ll have flowers all year round!
  • Calluna or common heather plant flowers are grouped to form ears and bloom from summer to fall.
  • Erica plant flowers are grouped in umbels and bloom from fall to winter.

This perennial usually covers surfaces well which can be interesting, and its bushy appearance and abundant flowers will certainly make for a beautiful addition to your garden.

Even though it flowers for over 5 months every year, common heath only needs little care and adapts equally well to rocks, edges and embankments – and your garden boxes, too.

Indeed, balconies and terraces are perfect locations for this plant because growing in pots is ideal and its low maintenance requirements make it easy to care for.

Common heath is the plant that is also called summer heather, or Calluna vulgaris, whereas winter heather is the plant that bears latin name Erica.

Smart tip about heath

You can plant them together with camellia, rhododendron or azalea, so that only one spot in the garden needs to be kept acidic instead of several.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Common heather purple flowers by John Haslam under © CC BY 2.0