They appreciate annual pruning.

They bloom even when other plants are overwintering in the cold basement or have long since withered and dried up. Plants in the heath or heather family require little care and are attractive as an evergreen ground cover.

The genus Erica is very rich, most of the species come from Africa. As soon as the cold weather arrives, you can usually find a wide variety of winter-hardy, January-blooming varieties in garden centers. Two popular varieties are winter heath or alpine heath (Erica carnea) and Darley Dale heath (Erica × darleyensis). They tolerate winter conditions very well, their flowers bloom from December to April.

Winter heath is somewhat more compact, the evergreen variety has a looser appearance. They look especially beautiful when planted together with other plants, arranged in groups. Their flower color can be white, pink or purple. You can find variety not only in the color of the flowers, but also in the color of the foliage: there are varieties with green, yellowish, orange and bronze colored leaves.

Winter heath and common heather are often confused with each other. The latter also belongs to the Ericaceae family, but the difference is easy to note. Winter heath typically has needle-shaped leaves, while common heather has scale-shaped leaves.

These plants grow best in acidic soil, so it is better to plant them in special potting mix. Winter heath also thrives in slightly more calcareous soil. Make sure that their planting medium is kept moist and has good drainage. The plants thrive in full sun, but also tolerate partial shade. You can easily combine them with other autumn-winter beauties. Withered flowers can be easily removed by briefly running your hand along the flower stems.

In nature, sheep play an important role in the life of plants in the Ericaceae family: they graze them, constantly “trimming” their tops, thus keeping them short. In the garden, you can do this by pruning. If you cut back into the old, woody parts, the plant will no longer be able to produce fresh shoots easily. This is why regular annual pruning is important. Cut the plants back after flowering, in March. Pruning in April-May is ideal for winter-blooming heathers. With pruning shears used for pruning roses, plants can be cut to shape quickly and easily. With regular pruning, the plants will continue to grow well, will produce many flowers the following winter, and will be in perfect condition.