Winter Heath Erica carnea 'Sherwood Creeping'

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


The 'Sherwood Creeping' winter heath is a low-growing, evergreen shrub known for its lush and fine-textured foliage. It has a ground-covering habit, spreading outwards to create a carpet of greenery. Its needle-like leaves are small and scale-like, typically dark green in color, and they densely cover the slender branches throughout the year. This provides a constant backdrop of foliage, regardless of the season. One of the most captivating features of this plant is the profusion of bell-shaped flowers that emerge. These blooms are often a vibrant shade of pink, sometimes with a lighter, almost white hue, creating a stark contrast against the green leaves. They are borne in clusters at the tips of the branches and can be so abundant that they blanket the plant from late winter to early spring, adding a splash of color to the landscape during a time when many plants are still dormant. The overall form of 'Sherwood Creeping' winter heath is mat-like, with a tendency to spread outwards rather than grow tall, which makes it particularly suitable as ground cover. This plant is resilient and hardy, often used in rock gardens or sloping terrain for its erosion control properties and its ability to establish an extensive root system that helps it thrive in various conditions. It is also a favorite among gardeners for borders or as an ornamental feature due to its attractive foliage and charming flowers.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Winter Heath, Spring Heath, Alpine Heath, Snow Heath.

    • Common names

      Erica herbacea, Erica mediterranea.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Winter heath is generally considered non-toxic to humans. There is little information indicating that this plant poses a significant risk if ingested. However, like with any plant, individual allergies or sensitivities may cause mild symptoms, but in general, no severe toxicity is expected from Winter heath.

    • To pets

      Winter heath is not known to be toxic to pets such as dogs and cats. It is typically safe around animals in terms of toxicity, and there are no widespread reports of poisoning in pets from ingesting this plant. Always watch for individual reactions and consult with a veterinarian if any suspicious symptoms arise after ingestion.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      0.5 feet [15 cm]

    • Spread

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Drought resistance: The plant is able to survive in conditions of low water availability.
    • Low maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, making it suitable for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Year-round interest: It provides evergreen foliage and winter blooming, offering visual interest in the garden throughout the year.
    • Ground cover: Effective at covering ground quickly, helping to suppress weeds and reduce soil erosion.
    • Cold hardy: Can tolerate cold temperatures, making it suitable for planting in a variety of climates.
    • Wildlife attraction: Flowers attract pollinators such as bees, providing benefits to the local ecosystem.
    • Easy propagation: Can be easily propagated by division or cuttings, making it a cost-effective option for landscaping.
    • Versatile planting: Suitable for rock gardens, borders, containers, and as a part of mixed plantings.
    • Tolerant of poor soils: Can thrive in a variety of soil conditions, including poor and rocky soils.
    • Color variety: 'Sherwood Creeping' offers pinkish-purple flowers that add color to winter landscapes.

  • 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 Heather crafted jewelry: The woody stems and small flowers of Winter Heather can be dried and preserved in resin to make unique, natural jewelry such as pendants and earrings.
    • Educational tool for botany: Winter Heather's various growth stages can be used to educate students about plant life cycles, adaptation, and alpine vegetation.
    • Livestock bedding: The dry stems and foliage of Winter Heather can be used as bedding material for small livestock, providing a soft, absorbent floor covering.
    • Garden pathway groundcover: This plant can be used to create serene, low-maintenance walkways in a garden, as it withstands light foot traffic.
    • Artistic inspiration: The vivid colors and textures of Winter Heather can serve as inspiration for artists and photographers, especially during its flowering season.
    • Model railroad scenery: Hobby enthusiasts can use Winter Heather in miniature to simulate lush, realistic landscapes in model train setups.
    • Dying fabric: Historically, various heathers have been used to create natural dyes, and Winter Heather can be experimented with for dying fabrics or wool.
    • Bonsai: With careful pruning and cultivation, Winter Heather can be grown as bonsai, displaying its delicate beauty in miniature form.
    • Erosion control: On slopes or areas prone to erosion, Winter Heather's root system can help to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
    • Winter garden interest: The endurance of Winter Heather through cold seasons can add color and life to otherwise barren winter gardens.

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

    • Endurance: Erica carnea, commonly known as Winter Heath or Heather, often symbolizes endurance because it can thrive in harsh winter conditions, showing resilience and the capacity to withstand challenges.
    • Protection: Throughout history, heather plants have been thought to possess protective qualities, guarding against danger and bringing good luck to those who keep it nearby.
    • Solitude: In some cultures, heather is associated with solitude or self-reflection, as it often grows in remote, quiet places, inviting introspection.
    • Good Fortune: Winter Heath is sometimes carried as a talisman to attract good fortune and ward off negative influences, aligning with its protective symbolism.
    • Admiration: The plant's natural beauty and resilience can represent admiration for someone who has demonstrated strength and perseverance through difficult times.

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

    Winter heath should be watered deeply once a week during its growing season, especially in the absence of rain, whereas in cooler periods or dormant winter months, watering can be reduced. Provide about 1 gallon of water to young plants each time you water to ensure that the moisture penetrates deeply into the root zone. For established plants, water with 2 gallons every two weeks if there has been no significant rainfall. It's vital not to overwater as this plant prefers well-drained soil and can suffer from root rot if left in soggy conditions. Always check the soil moisture level before watering to ensure it's necessary.

  • sunLight

    Winter heath thrives best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers a location where it can receive at least four to six hours of sunlight daily. Though some afternoon shade can be beneficial in hotter climates, too much shade can lead to sparse blooms and leggy growth, so proper balance is key.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Winter heath is hardy and can withstand a temperature range from approximately -10 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive short periods of colder snaps down to around -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, this plant prefers the cooler to moderate temperatures found in its natural mountainous habitats.

  • scissorsPruning

    Winter heath should be pruned annually to maintain its shape and encourage lush foliage. The best time to prune is immediately after flowering, typically in late spring. Remove dead flowers and about a quarter of the length of the flowering stems; this will promote new growth and a compact habit.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    Winter Heath ('Sherwood Creeping') thrives in well-drained, acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. A mix of peat, sand, and loamy soil is ideal to ensure proper drainage and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    Winter Heath ('Sherwood Creeping') generally does not need frequent repotting and can be repotted every 3 to 4 years or when it outgrows its current container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Winter Heath ('Sherwood Creeping') is tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels but prefers moderate humidity without the need for special adjustments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, cool temps, and acidic soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, well-drained, acidic soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of the Winter Heath 'Sherwood Creeping' begins with seed germination, typically early in spring, in well-drained, acidic soil. Once sprouted, the seedlings grow rapidly, forming a low, mat-like shrub with needle-like leaves. Over several months, the plant enters a vegetative stage, during which it develops a strong root system and foliage. Following the vegetative stage, from late winter to early spring, the Winter Heath 'Sherwood Creeping' enters its reproductive stage, producing prolific bell-shaped, pink to purple flowers that are pollinated by bees and other insects. After pollination, the flowers develop into small, dry capsules containing seeds, which are dispersed by wind or wildlife. The cycle concludes as the adult plants eventually become woody with age, slowing in growth, but can continue this reproductive cycle for many years if conditions are favorable.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early Spring

    • Propogation: The common Heather, specifically the Erica carnea 'Sherwood Creeping', can be propagated effectively using semi-ripe cuttings in the late summer. To do so, select a healthy, non-flowering shoot and cut a piece about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 centimeters) long. Strip off the lower leaves, and dip the cut end into a rooting hormone powder to encourage growth. The cutting is then planted in a mixture of perlite and peat or an equivalent well-draining medium. Place the cutting in a warm, brightly lit area out of direct sunlight, and maintain the moisture of the potting medium without letting it become waterlogged. Roots typically develop in several weeks, after which the cutting can be gradually acclimatized to outdoor conditions before planting out the following spring.