Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Heuchera ..... Choral Bells On Steroids

Heuchera, are a relatively new gardening phenomenon, and certainly so in my own garden.  I was working on a client's garden  two years ago, developing a shade garden.  In consulting with a plant grower, I asked what she would suggest to go with hostas, and she kept coming back to 'whookaira'. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I played along, after all you don't want to look too stupid, when you are about to purchase several hundred dollars worth of plants.  I've known the old familiar coral bells for years, but didn't realize how precocious and bodacious its new cousins had become.

The original choral bells

I was quite impressed with some of the leaf colours, so a bought a few small, cheap, late season specimens and put them in my own garden.  I like the fact that they are reasonably comfortable in either shade or full sun.  Now I have found that the lime green and pink ones are not very robust in this climate.  I did not get lime green (Kiwi or Key Lime Pie) myself, but it is rather lack lustre in my client's bed.  I did get a pink leaf (Peach Melba), but could only be described as frail at best.

Black Currant

Purple Palace

A close up of one of the variegated leaves - it is all about the leaves.  In breeding up from the humble choral bells plant, the flowers have been relegated to the back burner.  In fact I usually dead head them before they even bloom, as the tall stalks and nondescript little blossoms detract from their redeeming features - the showy multi-hued leaves.
Peach Melba
Thus far I have encountered no pests.  From my reading though, I surmise that I will have to set the plants back into the ground every three or four years, as they tend to grow out over time, almost like frost heaval.  However that remains to be seen, until such times I will enjoy their leafy bowers.

Dale's Strain

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

1 comment:

  1. I have had the purple Heuchera for many years and they have stayed hardy and beautiful throughout. I love this perennial.


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