Calluna: the plant of beauty and protection

The Calluna Vulgaris Hull, is a plant belonging to the family Ericaceae, genus Calluna, of which it is the only representative. It is a wild plant, often called inappropriately wild heather. Usually it has a herbaceous posture, and a perennial cycle. Aghifoglia evergreen is a suffruticosa, which never grows more than a few tens of centimeters. The stem is very branched and tends to have a prostrate pattern, which makes the plant appear dense. The flowering is unilateral apical raceme with soft pink or mauve flowers, grouped in groups of 20-30cm. The capsule fruits contain 4 seeds each.


It is a spontaneous plant, widespread in Europe and also in Italy, of very simple cultivation with few requirements. If it is purchased, a first repotting in a box or pot is necessary, even with other plants. For healthy growth we need a soil for acidophils, for example the one optimized for azaleas. You must not use soil taken from other crops, because of the risk of contamination from fungi and parasites and you must always prepare an environment in which the roots can go down deep and expand sufficiently. It is very important that the root system can have constant access to moist soil.
Fertilization should be regular, every 10-20 days, using a liquid product or a grains suitable for acidic soils, and the plant must be watered when the earth’s surface is dry. It does not need pruning or special care, but in autumn you can eliminate the dry racemes to give space to new ones in spring. You must not fertilize in winter, and in this period also the irrigation can be reduced and in any case the saucer must be emptied after about a quarter of an hour, when the water has been completely absorbed. It is a plant that absolutely does not fear frost, and that instead prefers a temperature between 18 and 20 degrees on average, but at the same time needs a good degree of sun exposure and areas sheltered from the wind.

Diseases and cures

The Calluna is a plant that does not fear fungi and parasites, but it has a strange relationship with sunlight: it is much needed, but dries her flowers, then the humidity and the temperature should keep an eye on, perhaps by moving during the hot hours. Care should be taken to which branches are cut, because in spring the green branches often come out from stems that look dead. To avoid problems with chlorine, use rainwater to water the Calluna.


In the language of flowers indicates the desire to protect. In Scotland it is used as a good luck charm.
The name Calluna derives from the Greek “kallos” or “beauty”. In the USA it is a feminine name.
In nature it plays an important role in the diet of many wild animals such as deer and deer, as well as sheep and goats.

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