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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
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers


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



Bloom Color:




White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter





Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Birmingham, Alabama

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 11, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a cool summer plant, not recommended for growing south of Z6 in eastern North America. It dislikes the hot humid summers of the midwest and the southeast. It dislikes rich soil and hates clay. Grows best in full sun in sandy acid soils without too much organic matter.

Older plants look best with an annual spring pruning. Established plants tolerate drought.

The evergreen foliage color varies with cultivar, but often turns shades of bronze/brown in winter, greening up again in spring.

This looks great where it has naturalized in the lean sandy acid soils of Cape Cod, MA.


On Oct 11, 2016, Aleco from Onsy,
Norway (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is everywhere in Norway, where it is known as 'lyng'. Along the coastal pine strip, in the inland spruce forests, and on high altitude birch plateaus, the ground is covered in heather wherever it hasn't lost the battle to its cousins - the lingonberry and the bilberry.

Common ornamental used to brighten up around evergreen shrubs and trees such as the thuja.


On Jul 26, 2015, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Can be a stubborn germinator in temperatures under 70F (20C). Tiny bristled seedlings are slow growing, but gradually increase in size under bright light and with adequate moisture in peat-based seedling mixes. Patience is required.


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.....


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 drain... read more