Golden Winter Heath Erica carnea f. aureifolia 'Hilletje'

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


The plant known as 'Hilletje' has a notably vibrant and decorative appearance. It is distinguished by its evergreen foliage which takes on a bright gold and yellow hue, offering a vivid contrast to the typical greens found in a garden landscape. The needle-like leaves give it a fine textured look, contributing to its dense and bushy character. During its flowering season, the 'Hilletje' comes alive with a profusion of bell-shaped flowers. The blooms exhibit a pink to purple shade, creating a striking display against the gold-tinted foliage. The flowers are small yet plentiful and form clusters that add a significant pop of color, making it an attractive choice for gardeners looking to add winter or early spring interest to their landscape. The overall form of the 'Hilletje' is low and mounding, contributing to its use as groundcover or as part of rockeries and border fronts. Its foliage often takes on bronze tones in colder weather, which adds to the year-round interest this plant provides in a garden setting. The 'Hilletje' has a robust and hardy nature, making it suitable for various gardens where it can thrive with minimal care.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Golden Winter Heath, Yellow Winter Heath

    • Common names

      Erica carnea f. aureifolia 'Hilletje'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as winter heath is typically not considered toxic to humans. There are no widespread reports of severe toxicity or poisoning in humans from ingesting parts of the winter heath plant. However, as with any non-food plant, individual allergic reactions or sensitivities can occur, so it is generally advisable to avoid ingesting it.

    • To pets

      The winter heath plant is generally considered non-toxic to pets. There are no significant reports of toxicity in domestic animals like dogs and cats from ingesting this plant. Nonetheless, pets can sometimes have individual allergic reactions or sensitivities to plants that are generally safe, so it is always good practice to keep an eye on your pet and prevent them from eating plants not meant for consumption.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      0.5 feet (15 cm)

    • Spread

      1.5 feet (45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Evergreen Foliage: Erica carnea f. aureifolia 'Hilletje', commonly known as Winter Heath, retains its leaves throughout the year, providing constant greenery and visual interest in a garden.
    • Winter Blooms: Winter Heath flowers in the winter months, adding color and vibrancy when most other plants are dormant.
    • Drought Resistance: Once established, this plant is relatively drought-tolerant, requiring minimal watering and making it suitable for xeriscaping.
    • Low Maintenance: Winter Heath is easy to care for, with minimal pruning and feeding requirements.
    • Attracts Wildlife: The plant's flowers provide a valuable nectar source for bees and other pollinators during the colder months when food is scarce.
    • Ground Cover: Its spreading habit makes it an excellent choice for ground cover, helping suppress weeds and reduce soil erosion.
    • Frost Tolerance: Resistant to frost, this plant can thrive in cooler climates and survive harsh winter conditions.
    • Versatile Landscaping: Winter Heath can be used in rock gardens, borders, and as underplanting for larger shrubs, offering great versatility in garden design.
    • Soil Adaptability: This plant can grow in a variety of soil types, although it prefers well-drained, acidic soils, making it adaptable to different garden environments.
    • Compact Size: Its small size makes it suitable for containers and small spaces, offering ornamental value for patios and balconies.

  • 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

    • Winter Interest: Erica carnea, commonly known as winter heath, retains its foliage and often flowers during the winter, providing color and interest in otherwise dormant gardens.
    • Container Gardening: Winter heath can be planted in pots or containers to create a portable display that can be moved to prominent locations during its blooming period.
    • Ground Cover: Due to its dense and low-growing habit, winter heath can be used as an effective ground cover that suppresses weeds and prevents soil erosion.
    • Bonsai: With its fine foliage and potential for small stature, winter heath can be trained and maintained as a bonsai specimen, offering year-round aesthetic appeal.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Erica carnea can provide shelter and ground cover for small animals and insects, especially in barren winter landscapes.
    • Photography: The vibrant colors of winter heath in bloom make it an attractive subject for photographers, particularly in contrast to the snow or brown tones of winter.
    • Craft Material: The stems and flowers of winter heath can be dried and used in flower arrangements or crafts, retaining their color and shape quite well.
    • Themed Gardens: Winter heath can be a key component in specific garden themes, such as rock gardens, alpine displays, or winter-themed gardens.
    • Soil Stabilization: On slopes or banks, the root system of winter heath can help stabilize the soil and prevent landslides or soil erosion during wet weather.
    • Textural Contrast: In landscape design, the fine texture of Erica carnea foliage provides excellent visual contrast when placed next to plants with larger or bolder leaves.

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: Erica carnea, commonly known as winter heath or spring heath, often symbolizes resilience because it blooms in the coldest months, showcasing its ability to withstand harsh conditions.
    • Protection: Historically, heath plants have been thought to have protective qualities, so having them in a garden was believed to safeguard one's home.
    • Solitude: The plant's ability to thrive on barren, windswept heaths has associated it with solitude and the beauty found in solitary places.
    • Admiration: With its delicate flowers that appear when most plants are dormant, winter heath can represent admiration for endurance and the ability to thrive despite challenges.
    • New Beginnings: Since Erica carnea blooms in late winter or early spring, it's often seen as a symbol of new beginnings or the promise of the coming spring.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    For the golden-leaved spring heath, ensure the soil is kept evenly moist but not waterlogged. During the growing season, water the plant with roughly one gallon per week, depending on weather conditions. It may require more frequent watering during periods of extreme heat or drought, and less during cooler or rainy periods. It is crucial to water the plant thoroughly, allowing the water to penetrate the root zone. During winter, reduce watering but do not allow the soil to completely dry out.

  • sunLight

    Golden-leaved spring heath thrives best in full sun to partial shade. Select a location that receives at least four to six hours of direct sunlight daily, ensuring the plant gets enough light to promote healthy growth and bloom. However, in areas with intense summer sun, offer some afternoon shade to protect the foliage from scorching.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The golden-leaved spring heath is hardy and can withstand cold temperatures down to around -20 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for many climates. The ideal temperature range for this heath plant is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It's tolerant of temperature fluctuations but should be protected from harsh winter winds and excessively hot temperatures.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the golden-leaved spring heath is generally done to shape the plant and encourage new growth. It is best pruned immediately after flowering, which typically occurs in late spring. Remove any dead or damaged branches and trim back to maintain size or shape as desired. Pruning annually helps to keep the plant looking tidy and may prevent it from becoming too woody.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    For the Winter Heath (Erica carnea), the best soil mix is well-draining, acidic soil with a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5. A blend of peat, sand, and loamy garden soil in equal parts can create an ideal environment for this plant. Amending with sulfur can help maintain the necessary acidity.

  • plantRepotting

    Winter Heath should typically be repotted every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil and prevent it from becoming compacted. Gently tease out the roots if they are pot-bound and repot in a slightly larger container with fresh acidic soil mix.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Winter Heath prefers moderate to high humidity levels, but being relatively tolerant, it can adapt to lower humidity environments. There is no need for misting unless the indoor air is very dry.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, acidic soil, minimal water.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-draining, acidic soil; full sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Erica carnea, commonly known as winter heath or spring heath, starts its life as a seed, which germinates in a well-drained, slightly acidic soil, often requiring stratification to break dormancy. The seedling develops into a young plant with a fibrous root system, and over several seasons, it matures into a low-growing, evergreen shrub. During late winter to early spring, the 'Hilletje' cultivar, distinguished by its golden foliage, produces bell-shaped, pink flowers that attract pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into small capsules containing numerous seeds, which disperse to give rise to new plants. In its adult stage, Erica carnea can spread through layering, where branches touching the ground take root and form new plants. With proper care, including regular pruning to maintain shape and promote air circulation, winter heath can live for many years, often enduring throughout cold winters due to its hardiness.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to summer

    • The winter heath variety Erican carnea f. aureifolia 'Hilletje', known for its colorful foliage and winter blossoms, can be propagated mainly through semi-ripe cuttings taken in the latter part of the summer. To successfully propagate, cuttings about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 centimeters) in length should be selected from this season's growth, ensuring that a few leaves remain at the top while stripping the lower half of the cutting. These cuttings are typically dipped in rooting hormone powder to enhance root development and then inserted into a mix of equal parts perlite and peat or a similar well-draining medium. A plastic cover or a propagator helps maintain high humidity, which is crucial during the rooting process that can take several weeks. The best results are achieved when these conditions are maintained in a warm environment without direct sunlight.