Winter Heath Erica carnea 'Branton Bamford'

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


The plant known as 'Heath' exhibits a low-growing evergreen shrub form. Its foliage is a striking deep green color, needle-like in shape, giving it a fine texture and dense appearance. During blooming seasons, the Heath is adorned with a profusion of bell-shaped flowers that can range from a pale pink to a deep rose hue, adding a splash of color to the landscape. These tiny flowers cluster along the stems, creating a carpet-like effect of blooms that is particularly attractive against the backdrop of its evergreen leaves. The overall impression of the plant is one of a rich, textured mat that provides year-round interest and color, especially during the colder months when the flowers may bloom, offering a contrast to the predominantly dormant state of many other plants.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Winter Heath, Spring Heath, Alpine Heath

    • Common names

      Erica carnea 'Branton Bamford'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Winter heath, the common name for Erica carnea, is not generally considered toxic to humans. Consequently, there are no widely recognized symptoms of poisoning from ingesting this plant.

    • To pets

      Winter heath is also not known to be toxic to pets. It is generally regarded as safe, and there should not be any symptoms of poisoning from ingesting this plant. However, it's always prudent to monitor pets for any unusual reactions after ingestion of plant material, as individual sensitivities can vary.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1ft (30cm)

    • Spread

      1ft 6in (45cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Year-Round Interest: Erica carnea, commonly known as Winter Heath, provides visual interest throughout the year with evergreen foliage and winter to early spring blooms.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Winter Heath is relatively drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for low-water gardens.
    • Low Maintenance: Winter Heath typically requires very little maintenance, making it ideal for gardeners who desire a low-effort landscape.
    • Cold Hardy: This plant is hardy in cold temperatures, allowing it to thrive in cooler climates and survive frost and snow.
    • Ground Cover: It can serve as an effective ground cover, spreading to fill in areas and reduce weed growth.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The flowers of Winter Heath are attractive to bees and other pollinators, helping to support local ecosystems.
    • Soil Versatility: It can grow in a variety of soil conditions, although it prefers well-drained, acidic soils.
    • Ornamental Variety: With cultivars like 'Branton Bamford', gardeners can enjoy different variations of foliage and flower colors.
    • Rabbit Resistant: Winter Heath is typically not favored by rabbits, which can help to prevent damage in the garden.
    • Use in Rock Gardens: Its compact size and shape make it suitable for use in rock gardens or border plantings.

  • 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

    • Wintergreen oil production: The leaves of the Erica carnea can be used to extract wintergreen oil, which is often used for flavoring in foods and in aromatherapy.
    • Dye production: The plant can be used to extract natural dyes for textile coloring, where different parts may yield a range of colors depending on the mordant used.
    • Eco-friendly garden design: This plant is commonly used in environmentally sensitive landscaping due to its low maintenance requirements and resilience in various soil types.
    • Photography prop: Winter Heather's early bloom makes it a popular choice for photographers looking for natural color in winter and spring landscape photography.
    • Artistic inspiration: The vibrant colors and textures of Winter Heather can inspire artists and be featured in botanical illustrations and nature paintings.
    • Educational tool: The plant is sometimes used in schools and educational programs to teach about plant biology and the importance of pollinator-friendly plants.
    • Miniature gardens: Due to its compact size, Erica carnea can be used to create miniature gardens or fairy gardens, often becoming a centerpiece because of its colorful blooms.
    • Bonsai practice: Some enthusiasts use Winter Heather for bonsai, training the plants in small containers to create artistic miniaturized landscapes.
    • Themed events decoration: Winter Heather can be incorporated into floral arrangements for winter-themed events, adding natural elements to the décor.
    • Culinary garnishing: Though not commonly consumed, the flowers of Erica carnea can be used as an edible garnish for desserts, adding a splash of color.

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

    • Winter Endurance: Erica carnea 'Branton Bamford', commonly known as winter heath, often blooms in late winter, symbolizing endurance and the ability to thrive in harsh conditions.
    • Protection: Heather plants have traditionally been considered to offer protection, possibly due to their dense, evergreen nature.
    • Good Luck: In some cultures, heather is carried as a good luck charm, particularly by hikers and travelers to safeguard their journeys.
    • Solitude: The preference of heather for solitary, open spaces can be symbolic of independence and self-reliance.
    • Admiration: The beauty and resilience of heather, especially in tough environments, have made it a symbol of admiration and appreciation.
    • New Beginnings: As winter heath blooms in the cold months, it signifies the fresh start and hope that come with the early signs of spring.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Winter Heath should be watered deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to become somewhat dry between waterings. During the growing season, watering might be necessary once a week, depending on the climate and weather conditions, with approximately 1-2 gallons per plant. In the cooler months, reduce watering to every two to three weeks, ensuring not to overwater as this plant is sensitive to excessive moisture. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering. Overhead watering can lead to fungal diseases, so aim to water at the base of the plant.

  • sunLight

    Winter Heath thrives in full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot is where the plant will receive at least 4-6 hours of sunlight daily, though it can tolerate light shade, especially in regions with very hot summers. Avoid deep shade as this will reduce flowering and can make the plant leggy.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Winter Heath is hardy and can endure temperatures as low as 0°F and as high as 70°F. However, the ideal temperature range for promoting growth and flowering is between 40°F and 60°F. It is a hardy plant that can survive winter chill down to -10°F, making it suitable for many temperate climates.

  • scissorsPruning

    Winter Heath should be pruned to remove spent flowers and maintain its compact shape. Prune lightly immediately after flowering in spring, which typically means cutting back the tips of the branches that have finished blooming. Pruning regularly once a year will help stimulate new growth and enhance the following year's bloom.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Winter Heath 'Branton Bamford' thrives in a well-draining, acidic soil mix with a pH between 4.5-6.0. A mixture of peat moss, sand, and loamy garden soil in equal parts is ideal. Ensuring the soil is rich in organic matter will help mimic its natural growing conditions.

  • plantRepotting

    Winter Heath 'Branton Bamford' typically needs repotting every 2 to 3 years. It's best to repot in the spring before new growth starts, using a soil mix that matches its need for acidity and good drainage.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    For Winter Heath 'Branton Bamford', a moderate humidity level is suitable. It does not require high humidity but should not be in an overly dry environment either. Natural outdoor humidity is usually sufficient.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, cool temperatures, and acidic soil for indoor growth.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in acidic soil, partial shade to full sun, shelter from harsh winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Erica carnea 'Branton Bamford', commonly known as winter heath or spring heath, begins its life as a seed, which upon finding suitable conditions, germinates and develops into a seedling. The seedling stage is characterized by the emergence of the first true leaves and the establishment of a root system. As it matures into a young plant, it will experience vegetative growth, characterized by the proliferation of foliage and branching, forming a dense, low-growing evergreen shrub. Flowering typically occurs from late winter to early spring, producing pink to purple flowers that attract pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into small capsules containing numerous tiny seeds, which when mature, are dispersed to begin a new life cycle. Throughout its life, winter heath will undergo periodic growth and dormancy phases, depending on the season, with active growth in spring and summer, and dormancy in late fall to winter.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method for propagating Spring Heath, specifically the variety Erica carnea 'Branton Bamford', is through semi-ripe cuttings. The best time to do this is during late summer. Cuttings are typically taken from the current year's growth, where the base is semi-ripe but the top is still soft. A 2 to 3 inch cutting is snipped just below a node, and the lower leaves are removed. The cut end is then dipped in rooting hormone powder to stimulate root growth. After that, the cuttings are planted in a mixture of peat and perlite or sand and kept under high humidity conditions at about 70°F (21°C) until they root, which generally takes several weeks.