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Margaret's Blog

 

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450px-Heuchera marmalade_02

 

 

For a low-growing plant with incredible foliage, it’s hard to beat heuchera. When you add pretty, delicate blooms and the fact that most heucheras are evergreen, what you end up with is a “must-have” plant.

There are nearly 300 known varieties of heuchera, also called “coral bells” or “alum root.” In general, heucheras grow to about eighteen inches tall (not counting the flower spikes) and around eighteen inches wide. Their blooms grow on spikes of delicate “bells” in shades of red, pink, white, and purple, generally blooming for four to eight weeks in late spring through early summer. Recent varieties have made the blooms more prominent. But it’s the foliage that makes heuchera a winner. Purple, black, red, orange, brown, silver, chartreuse-you name it, you can most likely find a heuchera in that colour.

Planting Heuchera

Heuchera can grow in shade, although some cultivars do better in full sun. They like soil that is average to rich fertility,and well-drained. Heavy soils can be amended at planting time by incorporating grit into the soil from the planting hole. Heucheras are great plants for either edging a bed or using a group as a focal point. They suffer from very few pests and diseases, but powdery mildew can be a problem. Be sure to give them some room so they will get good air circulation. Heucheras tend to be shallow-rooted, and will heave in the winter if there is a lot of freeze/thaw action. To prevent them from heaving, give them a good, three inch layer of grit  in late autumn

I find my heucheras grow far better in good rich soil with lots of grit put under their roots. For a long time my plants were rotting in winter before I took action with grit. Windy conditions suited them as well except for that dreaded eastery direction which is not good for man or plant . 

Heucheras do very well in pots, containers, and window boxes. Grow them as combination plants, summer bedding, patio plants or mixed with shrubs. Heucheras will give great winter colour once your soil isn't too wet or soggy. On our nursery here in Dripsey, heuchera are a very important crop for us both in summer and winter, and our grower John has devised a great growing regime that gives a finished plant of superior quality. 

 

Some of the best varieties we grow are: Black Beauty, Can-Can, Creme Brulée Firechief, Marmalade, Midnight Buoy & Berry smoothie . 

As delicious as a  Summer dessert  'Berry smoothie'  is a sweet treat for any gardener.

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