Bright and beautiful Heucheras set shady spaces alight in all seasons
Do you have spaces in your garden that are a problem when it comes to planting? Many of these might involve shade - particularly dry shade under trees. This is great! Every negative can be turned into a supreme positive if you look for it and this is where HEUCHERA take centre stage. The rosette-forming foliage plants are as bright and beautiful as any shrub or perennial with flowers. What's more, they can perform all year round too, making them a magnificent choice for so many sites. Heuchera can set your garden on fire if you let them.
The fiery foliage really captures the imagination.
Heuchera 'Pink Pearls' looks every bit as glamorous as its name.
So many different varieties
Plant breeders have now created hundreds of different Heuchera varieties with foliage colour which will blow you away once you start to notice. These plants are so easy and they generally thrive in the British climate. They are tough; will tolerate a semi-shaded position and they are not pH sensitive.
Heuchera 'Zipper' has zig-zag foliage and is aptly named. The foliage is two-toned, with a brighter magenta underneath.
Heuchera 'Solar Power' brightens up your spirits and any dark corners of the garden too.
Where can you plant Heuchera?
They are attractive groundcover plants that owe their popularity to their wide range of foliage colours combined with their evergreen nature. What's more, these plants seem to be immune to attack by slugs or snails. They are happy in so many different situations: open ground; pots; shade; partial sun; under trees; out in the open. They can provide underplanting around taller perennials, shrubs and grasses; they thrive on balconies and in window boxes and can even be used in hanging pots too.
Feeling hungry for Heuchera? 'Lime Marmalade' and 'Peach Flambe' will satisfy the palate! Or should that be palette?
Don't assume, however, that Heuchera will always look the same. Coral Bells, as they are known, can change colour in response to fluctuations in temperature and even produce flowers on stalks - hence the popular name. The plants take on an autumn hue which serves to make them look even more appealing.
Look at Heuchera 'Solar Eclipse'. It's delightful.
Heuchera are virtually problem-free
What's the down side? It's very difficult to find anything except the fact that vine weevil larvae are partial to the roots and you might need to drench with nematodes if this is a problem in your garden.
You don't want to find any of these vine weevil grubs anywhere near your Heuchera roots.
Heuchera colours, so bright and beautiful
And now the colours. There are so many. Dusky maroon through to purple and almost black on the dark side. Lime green, yellow and orange with contrasting leaf veins on the bright side. And many colours in between. Garden lovers enjoy noticing the contrasting detail on the foliage. Some yellow leaves, for example, are splashed with bright magenta highlights. Pictures speak a thousand words and it is these that allow the plants to sell themselves.
Heuchera 'Delta Dawn' is a captivating plant with wonderful foliage.
Planting in dry shade
Which is best for dry shade? Perhaps the purple Heuchera. You'll need to water them in well during their first year, then once they have established they'll be there for many years to come. Heuchera 'Palace Purple' is a particularly popular variety and is actually one of the oldest. Its deep plum-colour foliage is heartily reliable and the pink bell flowers on stalks make a beautiful contrast. If you want to achieve good groundcover, plant Heuchera about 30cm apart and cover any bare ground with mulch to keep out the weeds.
One of the most popular Heuchera: 'Palace Purple' is great in deep shade.
Dramatic Heuchera colours
Then there's the deliciously amber range including the glorious 'Delta Dawn' (see photo above) with its caramel leaf veins surrounded by lemon. and the distinguished 'Creme Brulee' with its coffee tones. For drama you might love 'Electric Lime' with its lime green leaves traversed by red veins.
Heuchera 'Creme Brulee' is a beautiful caramel colour that would look great against dark greens.
'Fire Alarm' could well set your vision alight, and 'Glitter' has a glorious mirror-bright silvery surface with contrasting black veins.
Heuchera 'Glitter' has a beautiful leaf that seems to sparkle with its icy white coupled with dark veins.
Tiarellas and Heucherellas, what are they?
Of course there are other, closely related beauties too including the Heucherellas and Tiarellas. What are these? Well, Heucherellas are Heuchera crossed with Tiarella. The resulting 'foamy bells' have a more cascading habit; more shapely leaves and often have more flowery flowers! Tiarella are gorgeous in their own right, having lobed or heart shaped foliage which is mainly green with maroon barring in the centre. They produce star shaped flowers usually clustered together at the top of the stems. Crossing Heuchera with Tiarella produces something that has more ornate foliage, profuse flowers on stalks and a greater foliage colour variation. What's not to love?
Heucherella has more finely divided and shaped leaves coupled with starry flowers
Don't be fooled into thinking that these plants are only for shade. They thrive in partial sun and some even like full sun. Check the information about the variety before deciding where to plant it.
Avoid these mistakes and your Heucheras will last for decades
Many people are tempted to plant them too deeply, and they never quite recover from having the crowns placed too low. Next: ensure that drainage is good as they don't like to sit in a bog. Thirdly, don't be tempted to over-water. They will become very sad. Heuchera can also suffer from a type of rust and the remedy is to simply remove the affected foliage and dispose of it before it spreads. This is a rust that doesn't affect other plants but it might spread to different Heuchera.
Virtually trouble-free - what's not to love?
Uplifting plants that are trouble-free! Enjoy them.