One of the earliest Erica carnea (Winter Heath) to bloom, 'December Red' exhibits masses of narrow, urn-shaped flowers that open pink and deepen light purple over the season. Blooming heavily for weeks from early to late winter (Dec-Feb), they beautifully smother the needle-like, mid green foliage. Great at providing winter color, this vigorous, low-growing, evergreen shrub creates an excellent groundcover for sunny locations while requiring little care.
- Grows in an attractive mound, up to 6-12 in. tall (15-30 cm) and 18 in. across (45 cm). Spreading along the ground by procumbent stems, this perennial will form a dense groundcover over time.
- Performs best in full sun in sandy, acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Part shade is welcomed in hot summer areas. Newly planted Heath can dry out quickly once planted so it is important to water regularly and thoroughly when the plant is young.
- Easy to grow, this plant is a welcomed addition to rock gardens, groundcover, slopes, coastal gardens, cottage gardens or containers. Plant in groups for best visual impact.
- Produces nectar that attracts bees on mild winter days, but is ignored by deer!
- Virtually disease and pest free but watch for powdery mildew, root rot, rust and wilt.
- Plants may be sheared lightly after flowers fade, but not any later as flower buds are formed during the summer. Annual light shearing promotes a bushier plant.
One of the hardiest of Heathers, Erica carnea is native to the Alps of Central Europe. It is loved for its early bloom and evergreen presence and forms bristling mats of pink, white, purple or red blooms which are at their best with the early spring bulbs such as crocus, scillas and dwarf irises.