Winter Heath Erica carnea 'Aztec Gold'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
heather 'Aztec Gold'


The plant known as 'Aztec Gold' presents a striking visual appeal. Its foliage is characterized by a unique coloration that blends golden shades with yellowish-green hues, which is particularly vibrant in the winter months, providing a warm contrast to the often bleak garden landscape. As spring approaches, the plant adorns itself with a profusion of bell-shaped flowers that exhibit a bright pinkish-purple color. These blossoms cluster at the tips of the branches, creating a dense and eye-catching display of color that can attract various pollinators. The foliage maintains a lush appearance throughout the year, keeping the plant attractive across all seasons.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Winter Heath, Spring Heath, Alpine Heath, Mediterranean Pink Heather.

    • Common names

      Erica carnea 'Aztec Gold'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Winter heath is generally considered non-toxic to humans. Ingesting any part of the plant is unlikely to result in poisoning or severe adverse effects. However, as with any plant material, individual sensitivities can vary, and consuming large quantities might cause gastrointestinal discomfort or an allergic reaction in some individuals.

    • To pets

      Winter heath is also typically non-toxic to pets. It should be safe around cats, dogs, and other household animals. There are no well-documented cases of poisoning from pets ingesting this plant. Nonetheless, individual animals can have unique sensitivities, and ingestion of plant material might lead to mild stomach upset in some cases.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6-12 inches (15-30 cm)

    • Spread

      18-24 inches (45-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Winter Flowering: Erica carnea 'Aztec Gold', commonly known as Winter Heath, blooms during late winter to early spring, bringing color to the garden when most plants are dormant.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Winter Heath is quite drought-tolerant, making it suitable for dry or xeriscaped gardens.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant requires minimal upkeep beyond the occasional pruning to maintain its shape and encourage denser growth.
    • Ground Cover: With its low-growing habit, Winter Heath is excellent for use as ground cover, filling in spaces and reducing weed growth.
    • Cold Hardiness: Winter Heath is hardy in a variety of climates and can survive cold winters, making it a robust choice for many gardens.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The flowers provide a valuable nectar source for bees and other pollinators, especially in late winter when few other food sources are available.
    • Evergreen Foliage: Winter Heath maintains its foliage year-round, offering continuous visual interest even when not in bloom.
    • Versatile Planting: Suitable for rock gardens, borders, and containers, Winter Heath offers flexibility in garden design and planting schemes.
    • Sun to Partial Shade: It can thrive in full sun to partial shade, providing various landscaping options.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Photography Prop: Erica carnea 'Aztec Gold', also known as winter heath, can be used as a vibrant subject or backdrop in close-up photography, especially in winter when its golden foliage provides a much-needed splash of color.
    • Educational Tool: Winter heath can be used in botany or horticulture classes as an example of plant adaptability to winter conditions and as a subject for studying plant morphology or life cycles.
    • Artistic Inspiration: The bright foliage and flowers of the winter heath may inspire artists and crafters in their work, leading to paintings, drawings, or textile patterns.
    • Culinary Garnish: Although not commonly consumed, the blossoms of winter heath could be used as an edible garnish for their aesthetic appeal, assuming they haven't been treated with chemicals.
    • Miniature Gardening: Due to its small size, winter heath is perfect for miniature gardens or fairy gardens, where it can mimic larger trees and shrubs.
    • Seasonal Decorations: Its evergreen nature and colorful blooms make it suitable for incorporating into wreaths and other winter decorations.
    • Dye Production: Historically, some heath species have been used for dyeing fabric and yarn, and winter heath could serve a similar purpose for small-scale or artisanal dye projects.
    • Nature Crafts: The branches and blooms can be used in nature crafts, such as making bookmarks, pressed flower arrangements, or potpourri.
    • Perfumery: While not a common use, the flowers could potentially be used for their fragrance in homemade perfumes or scented sachets.
    • Wildlife Garden Component: Beyond its visual appeal, winter heath can play a role in supporting local wildlife by providing shelter and forage for insects, especially during cold months.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Erica carnea, commonly known as winter heath, is not typically associated with Feng Shui practice, therefore the specific variety 'Aztec Gold' would also not be used in Feng Shui.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Winter heath is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Spring Awakening: Erica carnea 'Aztec Gold', commonly known as Winter Heath, typically blooms in late winter to early spring, symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings.
    • Endurance: Its ability to withstand cold temperatures and bloom during the winter months represents strength and resilience.
    • Protection: Traditionally, heath plants are thought to have protective qualities, guarding against negative energies and misfortune.
    • Good Luck: In some cultures, heather is considered a lucky plant, often associated with good fortune and prosperity.
    • Admiration: The delicate appearance of the Winter Heath’s flowers can symbolize admiration for beauty and tenacity in the face of adversity.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Winter Heath should be watered regularly, especially during its first growing season to ensure a well-established root system. Generally, it requires watering about once a week, although this may vary depending on climate and soil conditions. In hot or dry weather, water the plant thoroughly to keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. A good rule of thumb is to provide the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall per week, which translates to about 0.6 gallons for an average-sized plant. It's essential to adjust water quantities during the winter months when the plant needs less moisture.

  • sunLight

    Winter Heath thrives best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers a spot that receives at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily but can also tolerate light shade. A location that offers morning sun and protection from the intense afternoon sun is ideal to prevent scorching of the foliage, especially in hotter climates.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Winter Heath is hardy and tolerant of cold, thriving in temperatures as low as 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit can stress the plant, but it can survive brief periods of higher temperatures if not prolonged.

  • scissorsPruning

    Winter Heath benefits from pruning to maintain its compact shape and promote dense growth. It should be pruned immediately after flowering, which is typically in late winter or early spring, by lightly trimming the tips of the branches that have finished blooming. Pruning once a year is generally enough to keep the plant healthy and encourage a fresh flush of growth.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Winter Heath 'Aztec Gold' thrives best in well-draining, acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. A mix of peat moss, sand, and loamy soil can help create the ideal growing conditions. Regularly test soil pH to ensure it remains on the acidic side for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Winter Heath 'Aztec Gold' should typically be repotted every 2 to 3 years, or when it becomes root-bound. Springtime is the best season for repotting to minimize stress on the plant and encourage recovery during active growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Winter Heath 'Aztec Gold' prefers moderate humidity but is quite adaptable. It thrives outdoors in a natural environment, so there is no need to artificially adjust humidity levels for this plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure good light, cool temps, and acidic soil for indoor Winter Heath.

    • Outdoor

      Place in partial sun, acidic soil, water regularly, protect from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-7 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    Erica carnea, commonly known as winter heath or spring heath, begins its life cycle when a seed germinates, usually in late spring or early summer. The seedling grows into a young plant, developing a root system and foliage primarily during the cooler months. As it matures, winter heath forms a woody base and evergreen needle-like leaves, entering a vegetative stage where it focuses on growth and establishment. Once the plant is mature, which can take several years, it reaches the flowering stage, typically blooming from late winter to early spring with pink, white, or purple flowers. After pollination, the flowers develop into small seed capsules, which release seeds to start a new generation. The plant then enters a period of dormancy during the hottest part of the year, conserving energy before the next growth cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early spring

    • The common name for Erica carnea 'Aztec Gold' is Winter Heath. The most popular method of propagation for Winter Heath is by softwood cuttings. This process is ideally carried out in late spring or early summer when the plant's new growth is still tender but slightly matured. Cuttings should be taken from the current year’s growth, about 2-4 inches long, making sure to include several leaf nodes. The cut end of the cutting is often dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root development, then the stem is inserted into a well-draining potting mix. The cuttings should be kept in a warm, moist environment with indirect light to allow roots to form, which can take several weeks. Once the cuttings have rooted and show signs of growth, they can be transplanted to their final location.