Monday, June 28, 2010


One perennial that has been widely hybridized recently is the HEUCHERA. Their mound-shaped ornamental foliage comes in an assortment of colors and showy leaves.  I have them in the foreground in several places in the yard.  Heucheras grown for their flowers are commonly called coralbells, while those grown for their foliage are typically referred to as alumroots, or simply heucheras (which is what I call them).  Coralbells have tiny flowers on long, erect spikes, and although the mound is only 6-8 inches off the ground, the spikes of flowers can reach as high as 2 1/2 feet.  They come in shades of pinks, reds, corals,  rose-reds and white.  Their airy and delicate looking flowers can put on quite a show from late spring into summer, and even longer if deadheaded regularly.  Their rounded and scalloped leaves have 5-7 lobes and are quite pretty.  Heucheras for foliage may be listed under "alumroot."  I think their leaves resemble Maple leaves, and they come in all colors.  I have a lime green one (Key Lime Pie) and several that are purplish and rose-burgundy.  Popular ones  are Palace Purple and Ruby Ruffles.  Their sprays are long-lived and  good to use as fillers in arrangements.  They are extremely hardy, but watch to see if they have heaved out of the soil in winter, and if so, reset them.  They need to be divided regularly for best performance--in spring, every 4-5 years is best.  What I like about them is that they are not invasive; they stay in their mound.  And, if they do become woody in the center, it's very easy to dig the clump and divide it, taking out the woodiest part of the plant.  They are equally as easy to take starts of--and can be replanted almost any time of the year with no problem.  They just need to be kept evenly moist, although they are fairly drought tolerant.   Heucheras have been heavily hybridized in recent years, and cultivars may be listed under different species, some without any species name at all.  But, just look for cultivar names you recognize or that have  been recommended to you for the best ones for your garden.  I recommend Splendens, White Cloud, Palace Purple, Raspberry Ice, Ruby Ruffles, Peach Melba (wonderful, with a peach front and raspberry back-I gave mine away but am replacing it this fall), Key Lime Pie (BRIGHT Lime Green), Citronelle (Bright Yellow-Green), Velvet Knight and Hercules (A variagated leaf)  They are lovely, long-lived, hardy, non-invasive, easy to grow and take care of, do well in our area, have a wide range of colorful leaves to choose from, and most nurseries in our area have a wide variety  to choose from.  (I have also ordered from catalogs, but if I can get a nice-sized cultivar I want from a local nursery, that is what I prefer to do).  You just can't go wrong with HEUCHERA!  
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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