The sole species in this genus, C. vulgaris , is the much-loved Scotch heather. There are more than 500 cultivars. They are useful as groundcovers and rock garden plants, where their dense clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers with long sepals in shades or red, purple, pink, or white can be appreciated. The tiny leaves are scale-like and give the plant a gray color.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsEvergreen. Foliage becomes purplish in winter. Dense clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers. Very attractive to bees.
CareHeather likes an open site in full sun and soil that is well-drained, rich, and acidic. Mulch and cover with pine boughs where snow cover is unreliable. Prune in spring.
PropagationRoot 2-inch-long, semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer or layer in spring.
ProblemsDuring hot summers, spider mites may be problematic.