Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ling, Scotch Heather, Scots Heather
Calluna vulgaris

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Calluna (kal-LOO-nuh) (Info)
Species: vulgaris (vul-GAIR-iss) (Info)

Synonym:Erica vulgaris

9 members have or want this plant for trade.

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under 6 in. (15 cm)
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By trilian15
Thumbnail #1 of Calluna vulgaris by trilian15

By Baa
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By Baa
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Thumbnail #7 of Calluna vulgaris by mtilton

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No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral PurplePansies On Apr 6, 2005, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Giving a neutral note for the plants finickness and so so garden merit.... Pretty overall but sometimes not worth the trouble.... pretty little leaves and flowers but has hard time surviving winter without lots of die back if at all.... One finally survived the winter but is all brown and will probably need lots of time to recuperate which also means look decent! Probably nice in slightly warmer zones I'm in 6a 7b in fairly to very acidic soil.....

Neutral Baa On Sep 27, 2002, Baa wrote:

A small, evergreen shrub from Europe, Russia, parts of Asia Minor and North Africa and the Azores. It's a very variable plant and although it's the only species in the genus Calluna it's given rise to a huge number of cultivars. The RHS Plant Finder currently lists 637 cultivars although the full number might well be somewhere around the 1000 mark.

Has small, arrow shaped, greyish to dark green, hairy or hairless leaves. Bears narrow, crowded spikes of pink, red, purple or white, bell or tubular shaped flowers. It usually has 4 lobed calyces, longer than the corollas but of the same colour (which help distinguish the plant from Erica species (the latter information from RHS A-Z)).

Flowers July-October/Early November

Calluna requires well drained, acid soil in full sun, it will sicken and die within a couple of years if not on acid soil. It doesn't cope well with too much shade or wetness in the soil either.

They make excellent plants for ground cover and awkward areas such as dry open, acid banks. It's cultivars come in a wide range of shapes and colours so a rich Heather tapestry can be made using the different plants.

Also it's a superb bee plant which offers nectar at a time when other flowers are dwindling. The bees make a wonderful clear honey from Heather.

The plant itself has had a number of uses including; roof thatching, basket weaving, cleaning brushes, fuel and for flavouring ale. Sheep also make use of it over winter when the grass is low and has very little nutrients in it.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

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