I'm in the Pacific Northwest where heaths/heathers really thrive. I'm deciding on the variety to place in a well-drained, partially sunny southwest facing spot.

All of the heather types available at my local garden shop are just ground cover, perhaps growing to 2 feet high and spreading outward. However, I walked past a thicket of heather-looking shrubs that were sizeable with an attractive weathered look. These were standing 4 feet high, with new growth about 4" and brown or rust colored blooms, in the winter time.

A photo is attached, can anyone help me identify this plant?

large heather plant in seattle area yard

edit: adding closeup view of the same plant. actually there are several large bushes of the same kind

close-up view of same plant

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    There are Ericas available commonly known as 'tree heathers' because they get much taller, though not tree sized. Don't know your USDA zone, but I'm guessing probably 7-9 - some examples of what's available here theheathergarden.co.uk/heathers-for-sale/tree-heathers though whether you can get them where you are I'm not sure.
    – Bamboo
    Feb 20, 2017 at 13:34
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    Can't help with the ident - looks like an Erica species, close-ups would help, as would a more precise location. There are genuinely tree sized heathers to be found, particularly on the island of Madeira. Feb 20, 2017 at 16:26
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    I'm in Seattle also. Mind passing along a location? Not sure it would help with the id, but I'd love to see these beauties in person.
    – Ben
    Feb 20, 2017 at 17:19

2 Answers 2


Possibly Erica scoparia in English "Broom or besom heath"; you can find a reference here which has pictures for comparison. It is a bit outside its native range, but plants have to come from somewhere.

  • I googled Erica scoparia a bit, this seems like a good bet though its tough to find something that seems definitive. onlineplantguide.com describes "needle-like leaves and flowers face downward on terminal spikes" for besom heath, 2-5 feet tall.
    – Merlin
    Mar 4, 2017 at 1:38

Dunno about your plant in your picture but one of the only heaths I know that grows anywhere near 4' is Calluna vulgaris maries or mares? Supposedly gets to 3' but at that height they get spindly unless you are consistent with pruning to get them thick and attain that height slowly. Have you thought about planting an evergreen to show off your heath? Such as Sweet Box or Sarcococca confusa. Outstanding fragrance, easy keeper pretty much the same needs as your heaths. 2' high so perfect as a soft border between shorter heaths and your taller one. Go check out Vibrants in Woodinville. I am quite familiar with that area and this shrub was one of my favorite partial shade evergreens. A soft hedge is one where each shrub is planted on the tips of a triangle, sometimes doubling or thickening the hedge by planting one leg of the hedge lapped above or below the next line of hedge. Looks natural and if one plant dies no big deal. You've got to FRAME your flowering shrubs to get real impact..as well as planting en MASS. Make absolutely sure your drainage is PERFECT. Of course you've got clay soil but if you make your planting beds raised above the lawn and walks and driveway with 6" by 6" trenches at the bottom of the beds between any concrete or lawn that is sloped to carry water where you want it to go, you'll have no trouble. Acid soil is normal up there. Too much rainfall and moisture is also normal and heath does not like so much. Raised beds are critical (no sides necessary just double dig and flatten...should be at least 1' above lawn/walks. And YOU have access to SAWDUST SUPPLY with Gro-Co for mulch. No BARK! Gro-Co mulch is phenomenal and beautiful. Want references to go look? Let me know. Lucky you. Have not been able to find in other states!! Beautiful stuff and plants LOVE this mulch. Forget weeds and pesticide residues, trust me!

  • some formatting would help this rundown a lot (check the markdown instructions), but I can vouch for the Sarcococca, very nice fragrance and a pleasant evergreen that thrives in the Pac NW climate.
    – Merlin
    Mar 4, 2017 at 1:25

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