According to Cathryn Chaney for SFGate, the Italian heather plant’s scientific name is Erica x darleyensis. The plant has dark green needle-like leaves and produces bell-shaped or tubular flowers in a variety of white and pink shades from winter to spring. It grows to approximately 2 feet tall and spreads out approximately 2 feet. The plant is generally used as a ground cover.
Italian heather grows well in most soil conditions that offer good drainage. An application of humus or compost once a year is generally sufficient fertilizer, but if the plant is not growing or flowering well, an application of acidic fertilizer can be used. Italian heather does best with full sun and does not tolerate dry or soggy conditions. The plant should be kept consistently moist.
Italian heather is a hybrid between winter and Irish heath. It was first discovered in the late 1900s in Derbyshire, England. Since that time, the hybrid has been raised in numerous breeding programs. Italian heather is one of the easiest heathers to grow and one of the best available at smothering out weeds. It can be planted in various places, including being used as ground cover for low-maintenance slopes, around patios or as a container plant.