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Erica carnea

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Erica herbacea
Description

A low-growing evergreen shrub or groundcover that is attractive year-round. Prefers sandy, acidic, well-drained soil. Sometimes need to plant in raised beds to achieve adequate drainage. Avoid clay soils. Forms a dense mat over time and makes an excellent choice for slopes.  Plants prefer cool summer temperatures so they are a challenge in the south.  Prune it right after flowering in the spring to avoid leafless stems.

It is in the same family as and closely related to Scotch heather (Calluna vulgaris). 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems. Powdery mildew, rust, and wilt occasionally occur, in poorly drained soils root rot can affect this plant.  

Quick ID Hints:

  • Evergreen shrub with linear, needle-like leaves
  • Leaves are in whorls of 3 or 4, at 90 degrees to stem
  • Small, urceolate flowers** in leaf axils; anther protrudes

Evergreen, prostrate shrub to small shrubby tree. 

Bloom time varies with species (there are over 700), but is usually early spring to fall; some species are used as ground covers whereas others are shrubs or even tree-like; leaves are always needle-like and whorled and flowers are urceolate. 

Requires moist, well-drained soil with high organic content and low fertility, full sun to part shade; intolerant hot, dry conditions or heavy pruning (into the wood); no serious pest/disease problems.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Challenger'
    Pink flowers
  • 'Isabell'
    White flowers
  • 'Pink Spangles'
    Pink flowers
  • ‘Sherwood Pink’
    Tolerates alkaline soils
  • 'Springwood pink'
    Pink flowers
  • 'Springwood White'
    White flowers
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun#partial shade#purple flowers#pink flowers#showy#winter interest#slopes#mass planting#year-round interest#winter flowers#rock garden#winter garden#fantz#evergreen shrub#evergreen groundcover
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Challenger'
    Pink flowers
  • 'Isabell'
    White flowers
  • 'Pink Spangles'
    Pink flowers
  • ‘Sherwood Pink’
    Tolerates alkaline soils
  • 'Springwood pink'
    Pink flowers
  • 'Springwood White'
    White flowers
Tags:
#evergreen#full sun#partial shade#purple flowers#pink flowers#showy#winter interest#slopes#mass planting#year-round interest#winter flowers#rock garden#winter garden#fantz#evergreen shrub#evergreen groundcover
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Erica
    Species:
    carnea
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & E. Central Europe
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    A dehiscent, many seeded capsule.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Urn
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Showy fleshy colored pink bell-to urn shaped appear January to March. ‘Sherwood Pink’ features urn-shaped, pure pink blooms (1/4” long) in one-sided racemes (to 3” long) from January to March. (1-3)white-pink-red-blue (yellow), urceolate, axillary, on short lateral shoots; anther exserted from corolla.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Needle-like medium green leaves with bronze tips 1/4" long and in whorls of 4. If pruning is needed do it immediately after flowering. Whorled in 3's or 4's, simple, linear, needle-like, at 90 degrees to stem.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting