Growing & Caring For Calluna Vulgaris – The Heather Plant

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.
Heather Plants
Photo by courtesy of Manudri

The heather plant, Calluna Vulgaris, is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant bursting with color and texture. Not only is it a beautiful addition to your garden, but it’s also easy to care for. In this article, we will look at what Calluna Vulgaris is, how to plant it, how to care for it, and more. So, if you’re looking to add a bit of life to your garden, read on to find out how to grow and care for the heather plant.

What is Calluna Vulgaris?

Calluna vulgaris, more commonly known as the heather plant, is a flowering shrub native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is an evergreen plant that can reach up to 1.5 meters in height and typically blooms in July and August. The heather plant can be found in various colors, from purple to yellow to white.

In the past, the heather plant had a large number of uses. The foliage was used to make dyes, while the woody stems were used to make items like baskets and brooms. It also had a variety of medicinal uses, with the leaves used to treat stomach problems, headaches, and skin infections.

Today, the heather plant is mainly used as an ornamental shrub. Its bright, vibrant flowers make it a great addition to any garden and relatively easy to care for. It prefers warm, sunny climates and well-drained soil, and it should be trimmed yearly to prevent it from getting out of control. With proper care, a heather plant can last many years and be an attractive addition to any garden.

How to Plant The Heather Plant

First, select an area with good drainage and full sun or partial shade in hotter climates. Heather plants prefer acidic soil, so consider adding lime in alkaline soils to help adjust the pH. Loosen the soil for better root formation and begin planting about 6 inches apart from each other.

When planting the heather plant, it’s important not to plant too deep. The root system is shallow and should remain close to the surface. Plant the root ball at the same level as the container and gently firm the soil around the root ball. Water the newly planted heather to settle the soil and help the roots get established.

Choose the Right Location

First, the heather plant prefers a spot that receives full or partial sun. Although heather doesn’t need to get direct sun, finding a spot that gives it at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily is a good idea. Too much shade can cause the plant to become leggy and dispirited, so try to find a sunny spot that isn’t overly hot during the summer months.

Next, you’ll need to consider the soil. The heather plant likes well-drained soil with a pH balance of around 6.5. It doesn’t need to be heavily fertilized and can even thrive in nutrient-poor soil. However, if your soil is hard-packed or predominantly clay, you may need to add some topsoil or compost to give it a good base.

Finally, the heather plant prefers a spot that isn’t too windy. While some winds are beneficial, strong winds can damage delicate foliage and even cause it to dry. If your garden has a particularly windy corner, it might be better to choose another spot.

Preparing the Soil

Before you start growing your heather plant, preparing the soil for optimal growth and health is essential. Here are a few tips for doing this:

• Make sure the soil is well-drained and has plenty of organic matter. Heather plants prefer acid soils, so you may have to adjust the pH of the soil if it is too high.

• If you have heavy clay soils, you can improve drainage by adding organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to the soil.

• Remove any weeds, rocks, or debris that may be present in the area you’re going to be planting, as these can compete with your heather for nutrients and water.

• When planting, space heather plants at least 12-18 inches apart to give them enough room to grow.

Planting the Heather

The best time to start planting heather is in late spring or early summer when the soil is warm and the risk of frost is minimal. When selecting a site for planting, choose a spot that receives at least six hours of light each day and has well-draining soil. You can also give your heather an extra boost by adding a layer of organic compost to the soil.

When planting, create a shallow hole slightly wider than the heather’s rootball. Gently loosen the roots and position the heather in the hole, not disturbing the roots too much. Firmly press the soil down around the roots and water thoroughly.

To maintain the look of a tidy, low-maintenance garden, heather should be pruned annually. Pruning will also encourage healthy growth and bloom. To prune your heather, start by removing any dead or overgrown stems. Then, trim the sides of the plant so that all the stems are roughly the same height, leaving some of the buds intact for the flowering season.

Finally, heather plants need regular watering and fertilizing to thrive. Water your plants deeply every week or two, especially during summer. You can also fertilize your plants once a month with a balanced fertilizer. This will help them to stay healthy and look their best.

Watering Requirements

Calluna Vulgaris – the heather plant – prefers to grow in a moist but well-drained environment. This means you should water your heather regularly, but be careful not to over-water it, or the roots may rot.

Ideally, it would be best if you watered your heather plants once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. In summer, you may need to water more frequently if the temperature is high and the soil is dry, but be careful not to create puddles around the plant. During winter, your heather may need less water and should only be watered when the soil is dry. If you have just planted your heather and the roots are still settling in, you should water it more often but reduce the frequency as time goes by.

It’s also important to note that heather doesn’t like hard water, so if you live in an area with hard water, you should use rainwater or bottled water for the best results. The heather should also be planted in soil with good drainage, so adding some compost or sand is best to help with the drainage process.


Unwanted weeds can compete with your heather for water, nutrients, and sunlight, so it is essential to remove them regularly. Removing weeds as soon as you spot them is also essential, as some weeds can spread quickly and take over your garden.

To keep your heather garden free of weeds, start by ensuring your soil is free of any weeds before you plant your heather. If weeds are already growing, try to remove them by hand before planting the heather.

Once you have planted your heather, check it regularly for any signs of weeds. If you spot any weeds, use a hand-held hoe or a small trowel to remove them carefully. You should also remove any dead leaves or other debris harboring weeds.

It’s also a good idea to mulch the area around your heather with a layer of mulch or straw. The mulch will help to keep the soil moist and will also help to smother any weeds that may start to grow.

Finally, you can use a natural weed killer or herbicide to keep any weeds from reappearing. However, use caution when applying any chemical to your garden, as it can damage your heather. If you’re unsure which chemicals to use, talk to your local garden center or garden expert before applying anything to your heather plants.


Regarding fertilizing the heather plant (Calluna Vulgaris), there are a few tips to keep in mind. The first is understanding what nutrients are in your soil and what the plant needs to thrive. If you live in an area with poor soil, you may need to supplement with organic compost or even a slow-release fertilizer.

The second tip for fertilizing your heather plant is to go easy. Over-fertilizing can burn the roots and damage the plant, so use the fertilizer sparingly and adequately. Avoid fertilizing during the winter, as this can stress the plant and hinder its growth.

Finally, choosing an appropriate fertilizer for your heather plant is essential. Look for fertilizers high in nitrogen and potassium, as these are essential nutrients for Calluna Vulgaris. A slow-release fertilizer like pelletized chicken manure is a good choice, as it provides a steady supply of nutrients the plant can absorb over time. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product label before using any fertilizer.

Pruning and Trimming

First and foremost, you should remove any dead and dying stems and branches on the plant. This will help the plant stay healthy and prevent further er disease spread. If you notice any shoots, pinch these back as well. This will also help keep the plant looking neat and orderly.

When pruning and trimming heather plants, you should also be sure to cut back any that are too large. Otherwise, overgrown plants can crowd out other plants and make it difficult for the heather plants to get the sunlight, water, and nutrients they need.

It is also important to trim off any flowers that have died back. This will allow the plant to channel its energy into blossoming new flowers and producing more buds.

Finally, if your heather plants are getting leggy and overgrown, you can prune the plant back to its basic framework or the highest point above ground. This will encourage more growth from the top and sides of the plant. Pruning the heather plants in the spring is generally best, as it will allow them to recover quickly and bloom in the summer.


When adding a beautiful and unique touch to your garden, look no further than the Calluna Vulgaris, otherwise known as the heather plant. This versatile and hardy plant can be quickly grown in almost any location if it has well-draining, slightly acidic soil and is provided with enough direct sunlight. Planting and caring for the heather plant is simple and requires little attention. However, to ensure your plant thrives, you must water it frequently, weed regularly, and fertilize and trim it as needed. With care and attention, this unique plant can bring life and beauty to any outdoor space. When it comes to the heather plant, there is simply something special about it that you can’t help but appreciate.


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