Have you heard of Calluna vulgaris? Do you have it at home? It is one of the plants that enriches autumn and winter the most because it blooms from mid-summer and lasts a long time, sometimes until January or February.
But what do you know about this plant? Here we present a practical guide for you to get to know it as well as possible. Keep reading and find out!
How is the Calluna vulgaris
Calluna vulgaris is the scientific name for common heather., also called heather. It is part of the Ericaceae family, although it should not be confused with Erica (which often happens this).
Physically, Calluna vulgaris is an evergreen shrub. Its origin is in Europe, especially in the North and in the central part. Although the truth is that now it can also be found in North Africa as well as in America.
It can reach between 30 and 50 centimeters in height. and in its natural habitat you can find it in areas with little insolation as well as in forest clearings. It is common to be in mountainous areas.
As for the branches, these will be upright and are a red-brown color. It has very small leaves and many small flowers that, when August arrives, begin to bloom purple-pink in clusters. In fact, there comes a time when you will hardly see the leaves, but only flowers.
You should know that Calluna vulgaris is a plant that attracts both bees and bumblebees and butterflies, feeding on the plant and helping them pollinate the flowers.
Besides, It is not poisonous to humans, nor is it poisonous to cats or dogs.with which you will not have any problem to have it in the garden or on the terrace.
Calluna vulgaris care
Now that you know something more about Calluna vulgaris, How about we help you discover the care that the plant needs? They are easy to follow so it won’t give you much trouble:
location and temperature
The calluna is a plant that needs the sun. If it’s direct, better. But if the plant is very young, it may not be able to be in direct sun, and it is better to be in semi-shade to avoid burning the leaves and flower buds. When it is more acclimatized, you can leave it in the sun without any problem.
Regarding the temperature, you should know that the calluna is a plant that resists the cold. But if it is the first winter that you spend in your house, it is recommended to protect it so that the resistance to the climate of your home is not compromised. From that year on you will no longer have any problems.
The ideal soil for Calluna vulgaris is one that is acidic. Now, you should not only fill the pot or the place where you are going to plant it with acid soil and that’s it. It is recommended that you mix it with some crushed expanded clay as well as perlite, which will provide enough drainage to have a light soil.
If you have the calluna in a pot, as if you have it in the ground, you will have to water it regularly because it likes to have moist soil. Of course, try to use rainwater or without lime, because if it has the most normal thing, it will affect it negatively.
We cannot tell you for sure how many times a week you should water it, because this will depend on the climate you have. But minimum in summer 2-3 times a week.
In spring Calluna vulgaris could use some fertilization. Of course, keep in mind that they like acidic substrates, so the fertilizer must be adapted to it. And if possible it is rich in nitrogen and potassium.
Did you know that Calluna vulgaris must be pruned? It is a mandatory activity to stay healthy. This must be done during the months of March and April, if possible on cloudy days. What you should do is cut back at least halfway (don’t be afraid to cut off the new shoots).
The reproduction of the Calluna vulgaris can be done through stratification. That is, press the sprout (where it is with the mother plant, cover it with soil and thus cause it to produce roots in itself, so that a new plant comes out of it. In this way, in spring (this should be done in autumn) You will already have it well rooted and you can cut it from the mother plant and put it separately in another pot.
Finally, we want to talk to you about the uses that Calluna vulgaris has. Traditionally, the calluna was used as a broom. And it is that bundles of heather were tied to a handle in such a way that they had a thick broom to be able to sweep. To give you an idea, it is said that thinking about witches’ brooms was rather thinking about that type of broom that was made with the plant.
Other uses that heather has had have been to dye wood and to tan leather. However, the most valuable use that still endures is “heather honey”. It is obtained at the end of the summerwhen the honey bees take the nectar of the calluna flowers and produce a honey that is very special.
Another of the uses that Calluna vulgaris has is to serve as food. Both sheep and deer usually eat the tips, although in some cases also the seeds. Not only these animals, but also some types of butterflies feed on the plant.
At the medicinal level we must tell you that Calluna vulgaris has been used since the 19th century to treat diseases of the respiratory and urinary tracts. Both through infusions.
But it is also can be used to improve skin irritations. It is an astringent and an intestinal antiseptic, but it is also used in homeopathy and acts as a sedative in the central nervous system.
Now that you know more about Calluna vulgaris, do you dare to have it in your garden or terrace?