have found yourself down on heuchera or coral bells then
I would like to urge you to give them a new cool season
shot. All heuchera species are native to the United
States but many of us judge the plantís performance in
Julyís hot, summer sun, which is definitely not their
friend; they are really more acclimated to a shady or
since their big splash as the Perennial Plant of the
Year in 1991 gardeners have been planting them in the
spring and loving them until summerís tired look, and
then coaxing them through the winter. Today, producers
have transplants ready for garden centers in the fall as
a pansy pal. As much as I have loved kale, cabbage, and
swiss chard I have to say the heuchera literally takes
my breath away with its drop-dead dazzling foliage in
my adventurous color guru son, James, my eyes have
become open to not only the mixed container
possibilities for the heuchera, but the landscape too.
The old man has long decided against telling him what
works and what doesnít. I would have said NO you
canít have blooming coral bells with camellias and no
you canít grow heuchera with yucca. Instead, I now
believe we have yet to see all the possibilities with
heuchera in the cool season.
mentioned above all heuchera species are native to the
United States, including the heuchera villosa native in
the southeast from Arkansas to Georgia, and north to New
York; as is the heuchera Americana, which is used in
breeding many of the new cultivars. These two species
alone have led to over 80 varieties. There are so many
new hybrids coming from breeders all over the world they
are revolutionizing our native plant.
heuchera that has really caused a stir is Fire Chief. I
thought it would be impossible to beat Lava Lamp and
Carmel in color but Fire Chief is so stunning you would
want it even if it only lived a couple of months. Terra
Nova describes it as a glowing red wine, which I think
is a great description. To see its parentage makes you
realize the talent out there working on heuchera.
are considered perennial in zones 4 to 9 and tend to be
evergreen in warmer climates. They prefer moist, fertile
organic-rich soil that drains freely. In the landscape,
we promote sun to part sun in the north and part sun to
shade in the south.
As I have
been touting by planting in the fall in the South, they
become excellent component plants for sunny cool-season
mixed containers, boxes and even in the landscape as you
might do for a flowering-kale, cabbage, or mustard. They
will look attractive through the end of June, which is
long after kale and cabbage have bolted and flowered.
treasure the foliage, know that the plants produce tall
airy flowers in pink, coral, red or white. These spikes
of blossoms, however, do bring in hummingbirds. The
plants reach 16 to 24 inches tall and should be spaced
15 to 28 inches apart or as recommended per its variety
tag. In addition to Fire Chief, Lava Lamp, and Carmel,
also look for Amber Waves, CrŤme Brulee, Mocha, Palace
Purple, Peach Melba, Citrona, and Black Pearl.
where you live there is a season where heuchera will add
untold beauty to your containers as well as the
landscape. I hope you will revisit the possibilities.