All About Heather – History, Meaning, Facts, Care & More

When you visit Scotland, you will see the flowers of Heather covering the moors with the purple color. Most of the grounds are covered with this attractive hardy plant. Moreover, this plant is more than a ground covering but a significant flower with rich history and symbolism throughout time to ancient people.

Known for its scientific name of Calluna Vulgaris, which was derived from a Greek word, ”Kallune” meaning “to clean or brush” and from the Latin word, “vulgaris” meaning “common,” the name was meant a common plant for sweeping. In the regions where the flowering plants commonly grow, these are used as brooms for cleaning.

Heather is also known as Scott Heather because it is most common in Scotland. Another name for this flower is Ling Heather. This flower typically blooms in late summer and early spring. In the Northern Hemisphere, they usually bloom in late July all the way to the month of November. Some plants even bloom until the winter months. From the ericaceae family under Calluna genus, Heather is a wild species of flower originally in purple, violet, or mauve color.

Heather flowers nowadays are in white, pink, red, and purples due to the cultivation of the flowers. Cultivars are in varieties for rock garden cultivation, flower arrangements and bouquets, and garden plants.

  • History of Heather

Heather flowers and plants are native to Scotland, Ireland, Russia, Scandinavia, and North America. They are also found now in different parts of Western Europe, turkey, Morocco, and Siberia. It is a popular flowering plant in Scotland and it has been believed that its name came from a Scotland word “haeddre” a common habitat in the country.

There was a Scottish legend about the flower Heather. It was told that Malvina was engaged to Oscar, a warrior. He was killed in battle but a messenger who told her the news brought a Heather flower to remind her of Oscar’s love. She cried and her tears fell on the flower, which turned into white. This made her feel comforted. Since then, she wished good luck to anyone who finds white Heather flowers.

  • Heather Flower Meaning

Heather flowers mean good luck, protection, and admiration. According to Queen Victoria, this flower signified good luck in England and it expressed her appreciation to the Scottish traditions and for bringing Heather into the world. White Heather was also believed to be a sign of victory. The Scottish clan, Clan Ranald, believed that by wearing this white flower in their bonnets, they won the battle. It was their symbol of protection and luck.

For the brides who brought a bouquet of white Heather on the aisle, it means good luck and a fruitful union. On the other hand, other colors of Heather flowers also mean different things. Pink Heathers mean grace and beauty while purple ones are meant solitude, admiration, and majesty.

  • Facts About Heather

Heather flower is a unique type of flowering plant that is considered an evergreen shrub. It is the queen of the winter season to many people because it blooms richly in the cold winter months, especially under the snow. They grow in acidic soil but they can easily adjust to other types of soil.

This plant has several needles on its branches and it can grow with up to 30 centimeters in height. Most of the 800 varieties of Heather can grow even taller. The wood of the heath is the highest variety of Heather, which can reach up to 7 meters high.

It is always mistaken as the Erica flower, which also came from the same genus Calluna. Heather is smaller than the Erica or Calluna and it blooms during winter season while the other one blooms in the summer season.

On the other hand, there are varieties of Heather that can grow under different types of climate and environment, and they can bloom from autumn to spring seasons. They change colors through seasons, making them a wonderful addition to your garden.

One interesting fact about this flower is that it produces nectar in large quantities, attracting butterflies and bees, even moths. It has 30 seeds in one season. One plant throughout its life can produce up to 150,000 seeds.

  • How to Care for Heather

Heather is a flowering plant or evergreen shrub that can be planted and cared for easily under full sun and under shades. While the ground or soil is not yet frozen, the seed can grow well in well-drained soil. The soil can have mixed peat moss, compost, and manure to provide organic plant food to the growing plant. They can grow even under snow, which means mulching is not necessary. But they need acidic soil and some protection from the wind. As they grow, you can add fertilizers, preferably the rhododendron type. After the first blooms, and when the flowers dry out, you can start pruning to allow the plant to develop even healthier, giving you abundant blooms over the next flowering season.

Being one of the most abundant flowering plants in Scotland, Heather can also be abundant in your garden provided that thorough care and proper nutrition are given. You will enjoy the flowers of Heather in white, pink, lavender, magenta, amethyst, red, purple, copper, gold, silver gray, and some shades of green. Florists make use of these flowers for a wide range of designs of floral arrangements and bouquets and for decorative purposes. It can be an indoor plant in pots and containers, too.