Heather (Calluna vulgaris) Scotch Heather/Ling Heather, is an evergreen branching shrub. Heather flowers bloom in late summer. Wild species of Heather flowers are usually in purple or mauve shades. The flower's various cultivars come in colors ranging from white, through pink, a wide range of purples and reds. Different varieties of Heather flowers bloom from late July to November in the northern hemisphere. The flowers may turn brown but still remain on the plants over winter, and this can lead to interesting effects.
In Heather flowers, the corolla is showy in true heaths, and in the Erica genus, heathers have showy pink or rarely, white sepals that overlap the corolla. There are two types of Winter Heather plants. The lower, winter spreading types are grown as ground covers, in rockeries, containers or for spot color in flower and shrub beds. While the upright winter varieties are best suited for borders, spot color, massing or as container plants. The flowers of both types are ideal for small winter arrangements.
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Facts About Heather Flower
- The scientific name, Calluna vulgaris, in general, came from Calluna, from the Greek 'Kallune' meaning to clean or brush, as the twigs were used for making brooms and 'vulgaris' from the Latin word, meaning common.
- Heather flowers are a traditional remedy in Swedish herbal medicine.
- The Heather plant is sometimes also referred to as 'Ling' derived either from the old Norse Lyng or from the Anglo Saxon 'Lig' meaning fire and referred to as use for fuel.
- Heather flowers are seen in pink, lavender, white, magenta, amethyst, purple and red.
- Heather flowers also come in beautiful and varied colors of copper, pink, gold, silvery gray and almost infinite shades of green.
- Heather, the name most commonly used for the plant, is of Scottish origin presumably derived from the Scots word Haeddre.
- Heather is one of Scotland's most prolific and abundant plants.
- There are a number of reasons why Heathers are so abundant with such a wide distribution. For one, the plant's reproductive capacity is high with seeds produced in very large numbers.
- Heathers form dense stands that shade and out-compete low-growing vegetation, making it an unsuitable environment for native flora and fauna.
Growing Heather flowers
- Heaths and Heathers prefer full sun and well-drained, acidic soil, and they need protection from cold winter winds.
- Heather plants can be planted anytime when the ground is not frozen.
- The soil for planting should contain mix peat moss, compost or processed manure with your existing soil.
- The addition of a little non-burning fertilizer, mixed into the planting soil, will encourage new root growth.
- First, the Heather plants must be planted so the root-ball is level with the soil surface.
- Second, be careful not to pile mulch up over the root system. In fact, it is best not to mulch them at all.
- Third, heather must be planted in soil that is well drained, they will not tolerate continual wet feet.
- Firm the soil around the plant and water-in.
Heather Plant Care
- The Heather plants should be pruned each year immediately after they have finished flowering, which results in additional flowers the following year.
- A well prepared soil with good drainage is needed.
- A good feeding fertilizer is required. Poor foliage color or stunted growth would indicate the need for feeding.
- So if that occurs, feed the heather with a rhododendron type fertilizer.
- The best time to feed them is in late winter or late spring.
- Apply the fertilizer at the drip-line of the plant, then water-in thoroughly.