Winter Heath Erica carnea 'Rubens' Palette'

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


Erica carnea 'Rubens' Palette', commonly known as winter heath or spring heath, is a delightful plant characterized by its vibrant and colorful appearance. This evergreen shrub retains its foliage year-round, ensuring constant visual appeal in the garden. The leaves are needle-like and small, arranged in whorls around the stem, and hold a rich, deep green hue that can add texture and contrast to its surroundings. The winter heath truly comes to life when its blossoms emerge, typically during the colder months when most other plants are dormant. Its flowers are bell-shaped and appear in dense clusters that cover the plant, providing a splash of color when the landscape is often lacking it. The flowers are a soft shade, ranging from pastel to more saturated hues, which can include pinks or even reddish tints; these colors are a key feature of the 'Rubens' Palette' variety, offering a painterly array of tones. Overall, the winter heath presents a lush and hardy presence in the garden, with its vibrant foliage and bright florals attracting gardeners and wildlife alike. Its ability to provide color during the off-season is especially cherished, thus making it a popular choice for year-round interest.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Winter Heath, Spring Heath, Alpine Heath.

    • Common names

      Erica herbacea 'Rubens', Erica mediterranea 'Rubens'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Winter heath is generally not considered toxic to humans. There are no significant reports or documentation to suggest that Erica carnea, commonly known as winter heath, poses a risk if ingested or handled. However, as with any plant material, individuals may experience varying sensitivities, and it is always prudent to avoid ingesting plants that are not known to be edible or medicinal.

    • To pets

      Winter heath is not typically known to be toxic to pets. There are no widespread reports of pets being poisoned by ingesting Erica carnea, also known as winter heath. As with any non-food plant, ingestion may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals due to the plant material not being part of their usual diet. Always monitor pets around plants and discourage them from chewing on or ingesting ornamental foliage.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Spread

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Winter Interest: Erica carnea 'Rubens' bursts with pink flowers during winter months when most other plants are dormant.
    • Attracts Wildlife: The plant provides nectar for bees and other beneficial insects during its flowering season.
    • Low Maintenance: This variety is known for being particularly hardy and requires minimal care once established.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, they can withstand periods of dry weather, making them suitable for drier climates or water-wise gardens.
    • Ground Cover: Its dense, mat-forming habit helps to suppress weeds and cover bare spots in the garden.
    • Erosion Control: The plant's root system helps to stabilize soil on slopes and banks, preventing erosion.
    • Cold Hardy: It can survive in cold climates, making it a versatile plant for many regions.
    • Evergreen Foliage: The leaves retain their color throughout the year, providing constant garden interest.
    • Adaptable to Soil Types: It can thrive in a variety of soil conditions, from clay to sandy soils, given that the soil is well-drained.
    • Color Variety: Offers different shades of flower color from light pinks to deep rubies, adding variety to garden color schemes.

  • 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

    • Erosion Control: Winter heath can be planted on slopes or areas prone to soil erosion due to its dense root system that helps to hold the soil in place.
    • Floral Arrangements: The blossoms of winter heath can be cut and used in winter floral arrangements to provide a splash of color during the cold months.
    • Craft Projects: Dried winter heath flowers can be used in crafting, such as making wreaths, potpourri, or decorative displays.
    • Fairy Gardens: Due to its small size and evergreen nature, winter heath is perfect for creating whimsical fairy gardens, enhancing the miniature landscapes.
    • Photography Prop: The vibrant colors of winter heath can serve as an excellent backdrop or subject for nature photography, particularly in winter when few plants are in bloom.
    • Theme Gardens: Winter heath can be included in theme gardens such as 'winter interest' or 'year-round color' because it blooms in the winter and remains evergreen throughout the year.
    • Under-Planting for Bulbs: Winter heath can be used for under-planting spring bulbs as it provides ground cover and a color contrast when the bulbs are not in bloom.
    • Winter Patio Pots: Winter heath can be used in patio pots and containers to add color and life to outdoor living spaces during the colder months.
    • Model Landscaping: The plant's small scale and evergreen nature can be used in model train sets or architectural models to represent shrubbery or small trees.
    • Bonsai: With careful pruning, winter heath can be cultivated as a bonsai plant, offering a unique and challenging project for enthusiasts.

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 Hardy: Erica carnea, commonly known as Winter Heath, often symbolizes strength and resilience because it blooms even in the coldest winter months, offering a burst of color and life when most plants are dormant.
    • New Beginnings: With its ability to bloom early in the year, Winter Heath is seen as a herald of spring, representing new beginnings and the renewal that follows after challenging times.
    • Protection: The evergreen nature of Winter Heath, retaining its leaves throughout the year, can symbolize protection and the idea of enduring through adversity without losing one's essence.
    • Solitude: As a plant that thrives in solitary patches on barren landscapes, it can also represent the beauty and strength found in solitude.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Winter Heath, commonly known as Erica carnea 'Rubens', requires consistent moisture but does not like overly wet soil. It should be watered deeply and allowed to dry out slightly between watering sessions. During active growth in the spring and summer, watering once a week with about one gallon of water per plant is ideal, depending on your soil type and climate. In the fall and winter, reduce the watering frequency to every two to three weeks as the plant's water requirements decrease. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering to prevent overwatering.

  • sunLight

    Winter Heath thrives best in full sun to partial shade. It is important to place the plant in a location where it receives at least four to six hours of sunlight daily. Areas with morning sun and afternoon dappled shade are ideal, especially in hotter climates, to prevent scorching of the leaves.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Winter Heath is a hardy plant that can withstand temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the ideal growing temperatures for Winter Heath are between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid exposing the plant to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods to maintain its health and flowering capabilities.

  • scissorsPruning

    Winter Heath benefits from light pruning to shape the plant, encourage bushier growth, and remove any spent flowers or dead branches. The best time for pruning Winter Heath is immediately after the plant has finished blooming, usually in late spring or early summer. Pruning at this time helps to prevent cutting off next year's flower buds and promotes a neat appearance.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Winter Heath, commonly known as Erica carnea 'Rubens' Palette', thrives in well-draining acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. The best soil mix should consist of peat moss, sand, and compost to ensure proper drainage and retain slight moisture.

  • plantRepotting

    Winter Heath generally requires repotting every two to three years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth, ideally in the spring before new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Winter Heath does well in moderate humidity levels and does not require special humidity considerations, making it adaptable to typical outdoor conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Keep Winter Heath in bright light with acidic soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Winter Heath in partial shade, acidic soil, and well-drained spot.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Erica carnea 'Rubens', commonly known as the Winter Heath or Spring Heath, begins its life cycle with seed germination, which occurs naturally in favorable conditions of cool temperatures and moist soil. After germination, the seedling emerges and establishes its root system while growing into a juvenile plant. As it matures, it enters a vegetative stage, developing a characteristic woody stem, needle-like leaves, and a compact, ground-hugging form. Flower buds form, usually in late autumn, remaining closed until late winter or early spring, when they bloom into pink to reddish-purple flowers, attracting pollinators. Following pollination, the plant sets seed, which is then dispersed by wind, water, or animals, ready to begin a new cycle. Over the years, Erica carnea 'Rubens' will continue to grow and spread, typically reaching its peak maturity in several years, after which it may become less vigorous without proper care and rejuvenation practices.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Erica carnea 'Rubens' Palette', also known as Winter Heath, is through semi-ripe cuttings. Propagation is ideally done in late summer. To propagate, select healthy, semi-ripe shoots from the current year's growth. These cuttings should be about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 centimeters) long. Remove the lower leaves and dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone to encourage root growth. Insert the cuttings into a well-draining potting mix, and keep them in a warm place with indirect light and high humidity. Roots typically develop within a few weeks, after which the cuttings can be potted up individually.