Heather 'Bell's Extra Special' Erica carnea f. aureifolia 'Bell's Extra Special'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
heather 'Bell's Extra Special'


Bell's Extra Special is a compact variety with sparse, brown, orange and gold foliage and pink flowers in the winter and spring

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Winter Heath, Spring Heath, Winter Flowering Heather, Alpine Heather

    • Common names

      Erica carnea f. aureifolia 'Bell's Extra Special'.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 feet (30 cm)

    • Spread

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Visual Interest: Provides vibrant color during the winter months with its bright foliage and flowers.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, has the ability to withstand periods of low rainfall.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, ideal for gardeners seeking a low-effort plant.
    • Ground Cover: Spreads over time to cover ground effectively, reducing weed growth.
    • Cold Hardy: Resistant to low winter temperatures, making it suitable for cool climates.
    • Attracts Wildlife: Flowers provide a nectar source for bees and other pollinators.
    • Evergreen: Retains its leaves throughout the year, ensuring persistent garden interest.
    • Versatility: Suitable for planting in borders, rock gardens, and containers.

  • 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

    • The Erica carnea can be used as a natural dye, providing a range of subtle colors for textiles depending on the mordant used.
    • They are suitable for miniature gardens or fairy gardens due to their small size and evergreen foliage, creating a year-round whimsical landscape.
    • These plants can be applied in bonsai cultivation, where their woody stems and fine foliage can be trained into artistic shapes.
    • Dried Erica carnea flowers can be utilized in potpourri mixes, adding both color and a light, pleasant fragrance to the mix.
    • They can serve as indicators of soil pH; they thrive in acidic soil, and their health can signify the soil condition for other acid-loving plants.
    • Its dense mat-forming growth habit can be employed for erosion control on slopes or banks, helping to stabilize the soil.
    • Can be used as a natural frost indicator, as the plant is prone to frost damage that is easily visible, alerting gardeners to recent low temperatures.
    • They are often integrated into winter floral arrangements, providing fresh greenery and flowers during the colder months when other plants are dormant.
    • They can be planted over spring-flowering bulbs to provide visual interest after the bulbs have finished blooming and while their foliage dies back.
    • In landscape design, they can be used to create a textural contrast when paired with broad-leaved plants or grasses.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Winter Heath is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Winter Heath is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: As a plant that thrives in cold winter months, Erica carnea is often associated with resilience and the ability to endure challenging conditions.
    • Protection: Historically, heathers are believed to have protective qualities, guarding against danger and bringing safety.
    • Good fortune: Heather plants are commonly thought to bring good luck, which could be connected to the plant's hardiness and persistent blooming.
    • Admiration: The attractive nature of the plant, with its vibrant green foliage and colorful blooms, signifies admiration and beauty.
    • Solitude: In literature and folklore, heather is sometimes associated with solitude due to its growth in barren landscapes, symbolizing a preference for peaceful, quiet spaces.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late summer to autumn
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Winter heath, commonly known as Erica carnea, including the 'Bell's Extra Special' variety, should be watered regularly to keep the soil evenly moist, especially during dry spells. In general, it is advisable to water this plant once or twice a week, providing about 1 gallon of water per plant for each watering session. During hot, dry periods, you may need to increase the frequency of watering to prevent the soil from drying out completely, but always ensure that the soil is well-drained to avoid waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Erica carnea thrives best in full sun to partial shade. For 'Bell's Extra Special', a location that receives at least four to six hours of sunlight per day is ideal. A spot that offers morning sunlight and afternoon shade is preferable in regions with very intense midday sun, as this can help protect the plant from excessive heat stress.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The 'Bell's Extra Special' winter heath is hardy and well-suited to a range of temperature conditions. It can survive winter temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit and can handle summer temperatures up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 30 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, where it will thrive and produce vibrant blooms.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning winter heath, such as 'Bell's Extra Special', is important to maintain a compact shape and to encourage fresh growth. Prune immediately after blooming in late spring to avoid cutting off next year's buds. Remove dead flowers and any dead or damaged branches, cutting back to healthy wood. A light trim every year or as needed to shape the plant is often enough.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    Winter Heath (Erica carnea f. aureifolia 'Bell's Extra Special') prefers acidic, well-drained soil with a pH of 4.5–5.5. A mix of peat moss, sand, and loamy soil in equal parts creates an ideal environment for this plant.

  • plantRepotting

    Winter Heath generally requires repotting every 2 to 3 years or when it outgrows its current pot to ensure continued growth and health.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Winter Heath thrives in a moderately humid environment, but it is quite adaptable and does not require specific humidity levels, making it suitable for most homes.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, cool temperatures, and acidic soil for Winter Heath.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained, acidic soil; full sun to partial shade.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    As a cultivar of winter heath, 'Bell's Extra Special' begins its life cycle when a seed germinates in early spring, developing into a small seedling. The seedling then enters a vegetative stage, forming a woody evergreen shrub with golden foliage. Over the years, it will reach maturity and exhibit vigorous growth, typically staying compact but spreading outward. Each winter into early spring, the mature shrub produces copious pink flowers, attracting pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into dry capsules containing seeds, completing the reproductive cycle. The shrub is perennial, so this cycle of growth and bloom repeats annually for many years.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer to autumn

    • Propogation: Erica carnea f. aureifolia 'Bell's Extra Special', commonly known as Winter Heath, is typically propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings. The best time to take these cuttings is in late summer, after the plant has finished flowering and new growth has started to mature. To propagate by cuttings, a grower would select healthy, non-flowering stems and cut pieces about 2 to 4 inches long. It's crucial to make the cut just below a node, as this is where roots are most likely to develop. The leaves on the lower half of the cutting should be removed, and the cut end can be dipped in a rooting hormone to encourage root growth before being planted in a well-draining potting mix. The cuttings need to be kept in a humid environment with indirect light until the roots establish, after which they can be transplanted.