Erica carnea 'Aurea'
Plant Type:BROADLEAF EVERGREEN SHRUBS
Erica carnea ‘Aurea’ – Flowers are deep pink beginning their season in January where warmer. They usually flower starting in March in northeastern Connecticut. The foliage is golden becoming tipped with orange when the weather turns cold. Spring planting is strongly recommended.
Colors:Deep Pink / Rose
Zone:(4 sheltered)5 to 7
What is my hardiness zone?
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Characteristics and Attributes for Erica carnea 'Aurea'
Season of Interest (Flowering)
- Winter / Spring
Season of Interest (Foliage)
- Four Seasons
- Honey Bees & Native Bees
- Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
- Mostly Sunny
- Rock Garden
- Heath / Peat Garden
- Ground Cover
Growth Rate in the Garden
- Garden Origin
- Cutting Grown
Genus Overview: Erica
These are the Heaths. They have proven time and again to be more perennial and better suited to the vagaries in climate and weather in northeastern Connecticut than their heather counterparts (Calluna vulgaris). Though the heathers tend to have in their flanks more varied foliage color selections – some of them stunning in winter gardens, the issue for some, including me, is that if they have to be protected during the cold months by covering the shrubs then you are not able to enjoy the foliage… so, what’s the point? This is not so with the Erica carnea selections. And there are some very good color selections both in flower and foliage albeit in a narrower range than heathers. They make glorious evergreen ground-covering rugs which look fantastic with oh, so many deciduous shrubs, other ericaceous plants such as cranberries, blueberries, lingonberries, bog rosemary, etc. or underplanting rhododendrons as well. And they look terrific as foreground stepdown plants for dwarf and medium-sized conifers.
I’m often asked how heath is distinguished from heather. The three most simplistic answers are: 1) when you look at the stem of a heath (Erica) it looks like a tiny pine branch whereas the foliage on a stem of heather (Calluna) appears scale-like as in arbor vitae foliage. 2) most but not all heathers (such as C. vulgaris ‘White Lawn’ which is a flat mat) tend to be taller growing. (In the universe of plants it seems there are always exceptions to the "rules".) 3) The heaths flower winter/spring whereas heathers flower generally summer/fall. But there are exceptions here, too; Erica cinerea tends to bloom with the Heathers.
All heaths prefer a half or more day’s worth of sun planted in acid fertile soil. Erica carnea are somewhat alkaline tolerant… but don’t push your luck! Sand as an amendment is useful if the soil is too cloying and rich. All respond well to a mulch of wood chips; it is beneficial. And they love growing up through an expanse of wood chips. They do seem to respond well to the partial open shade provided by nearby shrubs. We find them handsome if not downright beautiful 4-season garden denizens…
Hardiness is a more vexing issue. As Donald Mackay cautions, “Zone designations are very untrustworthy things, but the reported northern limit is usually more reliable than the southern one which is usually less severely tested.” Heaths (as with heathers), according to Jane Murphy, are not considered suitable in the humid hot weather which regularly occurs south of Washington, D.C. unless you have a cooler micro-climate with good air circulation. Certainly any Erica towards the southern end of the range should be protected from afternoon sun; dappled afternoon sun would be acceptable if but only if you have an effective microclimate.
Heaths are undoubtedly easier and happier in cooler climates. Extremes at either end of the spectrum unwise. Erica carnea is considered the hardiest of all in this genus and certainly more perennial in the north. It has proven itself in the USDA zone 5b gardens at Quackin' Grass. Erica spiculifolia (syn. Bruckenthalia spiculifolia) thrived here, too, for years in USDA zone 5b until we altered that section of the garden. We have replanted it.
I recommend that any new spring-planted heath in the northernmost part of its range – and we strongly suggest that you plant in spring – should have some form of protection in the first winter to help guarantee its survival. Remember that our winters have become frequently odd, some with gyrating extremes of temperature too often with little or no snow cover. Protection is, therefore, important until your heaths have completely settled into your garden. That can take a few years.
One of my favorite late winter to early spring sights is to see the heaths in bloom abuzz with a horde of dancing honey bees which busily collect nectar from the sweet urn-shaped flowers. It never fails to delight and warm the heart. All heaths will begin flowering very early in the year in warmer climes. Most will begin blooming in March in northeastern Connecticut but may push flowers in February in a milder than average winter and continue forward into the spring. All of our selections are cutting grown.