Winter Heath Erica carnea 'Winterfreude'

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


Erica carnea 'Winterfreude', commonly known as winter heath, is a lovely evergreen shrub that boasts a dense mat of dark green foliage. This foliage provides a lush backdrop to its striking floral display. During the flowering season, which often spans from late winter into early spring, the winter heath becomes a spectacle of vibrant color. The flowers cover the plant like a blanket, their color resembling a deep rosy pink. These blossoms are small, bell-shaped, and formed in clusters, creating a delightful contrast against the darker leaves. The overall impression is one of warmth and bright color during a time when many other plants remain dormant. The winter heath's low-growing, spreading habit makes it a favorite for ground cover, rock gardens, and borders, where it adds color and texture to the landscape.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Winter Beauty, Springwood Pink, Springwood White, King George, Vivellii, Myretoun Ruby, Pink Ice.

    • Common names

      Erica carnea 'Winterfreude'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Winter Heath is not commonly known to be a highly toxic plant to humans. However, as with many plants, individuals may experience varying degrees of sensitivity, and it could potentially cause mild stomach upset if ingested. If large amounts are consumed, more serious symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea could occur. It is always prudent to avoid ingesting any plant material that is not known to be safe for consumption, and to keep all plants out of the reach of small children who might inadvertently ingest them.

    • To pets

      Winter Heath is generally not considered highly toxic to pets. Nevertheless, individual pets can have different sensitivity levels to plants. If a pet ingests parts of this plant, they might experience mild gastrointestinal upset, manifesting as symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea. As a precaution, pet owners should prevent their animals from eating plants that are not verified to be safe for them, and any consumption of plant material by pets should be monitored for adverse reactions.

  • 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

    • Winter Interest: Erica carnea 'Winterfreude', commonly known as Winter Heath, blooms in late winter to early spring when most other plants are dormant, adding color to the garden.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Winter Heath is relatively drought tolerant, requiring minimal watering in well-drained soils.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant requires little maintenance, making it a good choice for gardeners who prefer less-intensive gardening practices.
    • Cold Hardy: Winter Heath is able to withstand cold temperatures, making it suitable for gardens in cooler climates.
    • Ground Cover: With its low, spreading habit, it serves as an excellent ground cover to control erosion and suppress weeds.
    • Attracts Wildlife: The flowers of Winter Heath provide a valuable food source for bees and other pollinators when few other plants are in bloom.
    • Evergreen Foliage: Its evergreen leaves provide year-round interest and structure to the garden landscape.
    • Versatile Garden Use: Suitable for rock gardens, borders, containers, and as part of a heather garden, offering versatile use in various garden designs.

  • 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 can be used in the creation of miniature landscapes or fairy gardens, providing a year-round green backdrop with vibrant winter color.
    • It can be a natural dye for fabrics, imparting subtle green or brown hues depending on the mordant used.
    • Winter Heather's branches can be used in wreath-making for a rustic, wintery touch to holiday decorations.
    • The flowers can be added to potpourris for a delicate fragrance and to retain the essence of winter in home decor.
    • Can be used in the art of kokedama—Japanese moss balls—as the plant's small size and evergreen foliage suit the aesthetics of this craft.
    • Pressed and dried Erica carnea flowers can be used in delicate bookmark creations or in resin jewelry.
    • Culinary addition to herbal tea blends, providing a mild, earthy flavor and floral note to homemade teas.
    • As roofing material in small-scale projects, such as birdhouses or bee hotels, to provide natural insulation and camouflage.
    • The plant’s woody stems can be fashioned into small rustic tools or ornaments, using its natural resistance to decay.
    • Winter Heather can be incorporated into bonsai art, trained into interesting shapes and contributing year-round interest.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Winter Heath is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Winter Heath is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Endurance and Strength: Erica carnea 'Winterfreude', commonly known as Winter Heath, blooms in the harshest winter months, symbolizing the ability to endure difficult conditions and maintain strength despite challenges.
    • Protection: Throughout history, heaths have been considered plants that offer protection. As a winter-blooming variety, Winter Heath symbolizes safeguarding against adversity and providing a haven in tough times.
    • Good Luck: In some cultures, heather plants, including Winter Heath, are associated with good fortune. Its ability to bloom in winter is seen as a sign of resilience and is believed to bring luck.
    • Solitude: Due to its preference for growing in remote and rocky areas, Winter Heath can symbolize a love for solitude and contemplation.
    • New Beginnings: The early bloom of the Winter Heath heralds the coming spring, making it a symbol of new beginnings and the promise of renewal after a period of dormancy or hardship.

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

    For Winter Heath, it's important to maintain consistent moisture without waterlogging the soil. Water the plant deeply once a week, using approximately 1 gallon per square foot of soil area during active growing seasons, primarily in spring and summer. In the fall and especially during winter, you should reduce watering frequency as the plant's growth slows and its water needs decrease. During these cooler months, watering every two to three weeks may suffice, depending on local climate conditions and rainfall. Always check the soil moisture at a depth of about 2 inches; the soil should be barely moist to the touch before you water again.

  • sunLight

    Winter Heath thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions. The best spot for the plant would be in an area where it receives at least four to six hours of direct sunlight each day. It can tolerate some shade, especially in the hottest part of the day, but too much shade can cause sparse flowering and leggy growth. Ensure the plant is positioned to maximize light exposure for vibrant blooms and compact foliage.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Winter Heath is exceptionally cold-hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as -10°F, making it suitable for many climates without concern for winter damage. The plant prefers cooler conditions and can struggle with too much heat, so the maximum temperature should not exceed 75°F for extended periods. Ideally, the Winter Heath enjoys a temperature range between 60°F and 70°F for optimal growth.

  • scissorsPruning

    Winter Heath benefits from pruning to maintain its compact shape and encourage denser growth. Prune in late spring, just after the plant has finished blooming, to remove spent flowers and any dead or woody stems. Regular light pruning each year is usually enough to keep the plant looking its best, but avoid cutting into old wood that does not have green shoots, as it may not regenerate new growth. Pruning is not only aesthetic but also promotes healthy plant vigor and more prolific blooming in the following season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Winter Heath prefers well-draining, acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0. A mix of peat, sand, and loamy soil in equal parts makes an ideal soil composition for 'Winterfreude'.

  • plantRepotting

    Winter Heath 'Winterfreude' generally requires repotting every two to three years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Winter Heath thrives in moderate humidity conditions; avoid overly dry air but do not require high humidity to flourish.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Keep Winter Heath in bright, indirect light with acidic soil indoors.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Winter Heath in partial shade, acidic soil, and shelter from harsh winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Erica carnea 'Winterfreude', commonly known as Winter Heath or Spring Heath, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in late spring or early summer. After germination, the seedling emerges and develops into a small shrub, characterized by needle-like leaves and a dense, compact growth habit. Over the years, it reaches maturity and typically blooms in late winter to early spring, producing bell-shaped flowers that range from pink to purple. Following pollination, which is often aided by bees, it sets seed that will disperse and potentially give rise to new plants. The plant continues to grow and can spread by layering, where branches touching the ground take root, gradually expanding its presence. Winter Heath is an evergreen, so it retains its foliage throughout the year, entering a period of dormancy during colder months until the next flowering cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagating the winter heath 'Winterfreude' is by taking semi-ripe cuttings during the summer. Ideally, this is done from late June to early August, when new growth has started to harden slightly. Cuttings should be taken from healthy plants, selecting non-flowering shoots of about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) long. Gently remove the lower leaves, and if desired, dip the base of the cuttings into rooting hormone powder to encourage root development. The prepared cuttings are then inserted into a pot filled with a mixture of peat and perlite or sand, ensuring good contact with the medium. The pot should be placed in a warm, shaded spot with high humidity, and kept moist until the cuttings have rooted, which usually takes several weeks. After roots have developed, the cuttings can be transplanted into individual pots with regular soil to continue growing.