Types of Heather Plants: A Comprehensive Guide to Knowing What’s What

Heather plants belong to the genus Calluna and are known for their colorful foliage and delicate flowers. There are several cultivars and varieties of heather plants available, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are some common types of heather plants:

1. Calluna vulgaris:

Calluna vulgaris, also known as common heather or ling, is the most widespread and well-known species of heather. It has small, needle-like leaves that vary in color, ranging from green to shades of red, purple, and gold. Common heather produces flowers in various hues, including pink, purple, and white. It is a hardy and versatile plant that thrives in acidic soils.

2. Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’:

‘Firefly’ is a cultivar of Calluna vulgaris known for its vibrant golden-yellow foliage. It adds a striking pop of color to gardens and landscapes, particularly in autumn when the foliage intensifies. ‘Firefly’ produces small pink flowers, creating an attractive contrast against the golden foliage.

3. Calluna vulgaris ‘Robert Chapman’:

‘Robert Chapman’ is a cultivar of Calluna vulgaris that features bright magenta-colored flowers and deep green foliage. It is a vigorous and compact variety, making it suitable for containers and small gardens. ‘Robert Chapman’ blooms from late summer to early autumn, adding a burst of color to the landscape.

4. Calluna vulgaris ‘County Wicklow’:

‘County Wicklow’ is a cultivar of Calluna vulgaris known for its vibrant pink flowers and dark green foliage. It is a compact variety with a neat and rounded habit, making it ideal for borders and rock gardens. ‘County Wicklow’ blooms from mid to late summer, attracting bees and butterflies.

5. Calluna vulgaris ‘Winter Chocolate’:

‘Winter Chocolate’ is a cultivar of Calluna vulgaris prized for its unique foliage color. The leaves have a rich burgundy to chocolate brown hue, providing year-round interest in the garden. While it produces fewer flowers compared to other varieties, its striking foliage makes it a standout plant.

These are just a few examples of the many cultivars and varieties of heather plants available. Heather plants are generally low-maintenance and thrive in well-drained, acidic soils. They are commonly used in rock gardens, borders, and heather gardens, adding color and texture to the landscape while attracting pollinators.