Erica herbacea f. aureifolia 'Westwood Yellow'



Common name/s ?

Heather 'Westwood Yellow', alpine heath 'Westwood Yellow', Scotch heath 'Westwood Yellow', winter heath 'Westwood Yellow', winter flowering heath 'Westwood Yellow' and spring heath 'Westwood Yellow'.

Skill rating



Central and southern Europe.

Type of plant ?

Evergreen, perennial shrub.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

To 15cm height and 30cm spread.

Growth rate ?

Moderate, will reach full size in 2 to 5 years.

Shape it grows into

Creeping, mat forming.

Season/s of interest

Year round foliage with an abundance of flowers from late winter through spring.

Where to grow it

Happiest in full sun.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Happy in any soil type except chalk. Prefers a neutral to acidic pH, but (unlike other Erica species) it will tolerate alkaline soils. Grow in a spot which has a south, west or east aspect and is either sheltered or exposed (including coastal areas).

Erica carnea f. aureifolia 'Westwood Yellow'


Forms a mat of evergreen, golden-yellow foliage with light pink, bell shaped flowers in late winter and spring.

What to use it for

Great for rock gardens, edging beds or borders and growing on slopes. Makes excellent evergreen ground cover. Can also be grown in containers.

How to look after it

This is a very low maintenance plant, only requiring trimming (see ‘how to prune it’ below).

How to prune it

In late spring, when the last of the flowers are fading, prune the stems back to remove most, but not all, of the previous year’s growth (new growth is much less likely to come from older wood).

It’s best to prune Erica carnea plants every year to keep them tidy, compact and free flowering.

Once the plant becomes straggly it should be replaced (or propagated from, then replaced) as renovation pruning isn’t possible.

How to propagate it

Take 5cm long semi-ripe cuttings from late summer to autumn, preferably from non-flowering shoots, and remove the leaves from the bottom third to reduce the risk of rotting. The top of the cutting should be pinched out. Place in a cold frame (for 4 to 6 months) or keep them warm in a propagator (or cover with a clear plastic bag) at between 15 and 21°C. Spray with a suitable fungicide and ventilate (lift the cover) daily as heather cuttings are prone to rot.

Plants can also be propagated by layering in spring; either simple layering or dropping.

Common problems

Phytophthera root disease can be a problem, as can lichen. Rabbits also find heathers a tasty snack!

Other useful information

This cultivar has been given the Award of Garden Merit by the RHS.

The genus name Erica derives from the Latin for a heath or moor (where Erica plants natively grow). The species name carnea means flesh-coloured and refers to the pink colour of Erica carnea flowers.

Heather features widely in superstitions, particularly white heather which is said to bring good luck.