Calluna vulgaris 'Spring Torch'

Common Name: Scotch heather 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Ericaceae
Zone: 4 to 6
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Purplish-pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Grow in moist, acidic, humusy, somewhat lean, sandy or gravelly, very well-drained soils of average fertility in full sun to part shade. Plants perform best in full sun (better flowering), but may appreciate some part afternoon light shade in hot summer climates. Scotch heather prefers a moist and cool climate. It generally dislikes the high heat/humidity of the Midwest and deep South and is not recommended for planting south of USDA Zone 6. It also dislikes the heavy clay soils commonly found in the St. Louis area. Plants need regular and consistent moisture and should not be allowed to dry out. Do not site plants in locations exposed to strong winds. Mulch with peat moss. Avoid cultivating around plants because they have shallow root systems. Prune in spring before new growth appears. Older shrubs often become leggy and unkempt, and appreciate an annual spring pruning.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Genus name comes from the Greek word kalluno meaning to cleanse or adorn. Plants were used for making brooms.

Specific epithet means common.

‘Spring Torch’ is a cultivar that features vermillion foliage tips in winter-spring and pink flowers from mid to late summer to fall.

Problems

Watch for spider mites and oystershell scale. Stem and root rot may occur, particularly during warm and humid summer weather.

Garden Uses

Smaller varieties are useful as ground covers or in the rock garden. More erect shrubs are effective when planted in mass on hillsides. Also may be sited in borders and as background plants. Scotch heather generally combines well with dwarf conifers and deciduous shrubs.