It is a small shrub growing to 10–20 centimetres (rarely to 40 cm) tall with slender stems. The leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, lanceolate, 1–5 centimetres long and 2–8 millimetres broad, dark green above (purplish in winter) and white beneath with the leaf margins curled under. The flowers are bell-shaped, white to pink, 5–8 mm long; flowering is in late spring to early summer. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous seeds.
'Compacta' shown here is a small evergreen shrub to 20cm in height, with oval leaves and terminal clusters of clear pink, globose flowers.
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