Gardening TipsWhat you Need to Know When You Don't Have a Green Thumb
Heuchera – Coral Bells
Heuchera is one of the more popular perennials in the perennial section of the garden centre, and with good reason. Over the past few years this old time perennial, native to North America has seen many transformations. At one time it was grown mainly for its spikes of small, bell flowers that rise above the foliage, but now it is used for its attractive foliage and the flowers are a bonus. The leaves are very colourful coming in colours of neon green, chocolate, peach, orange, red, violet, plum, silver and different textures of smooth, shiny, rough, crimped, and curly. Heucheras are an evergreen and add colour and texture to the landscape year round, until they are covered by snow. The attractive flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds and can be brought indoors and used in fresh arrangements. Remove the finished flowers to encourage repeat bloom.
This easy to grow perennial prefers to be grown in a moist, well drained soil.They are a shade loving plant, however there are some varieties such as the purple leaved types that will tolerate sun. They are rarely bothered by pests and disease and do not require a lot of care or maintenance. Every 3-4 years the crowns become woody, and so they should be dug up in the spring and divided. Heucheras are a versatile plant and can be grown in rock gardens, woodland areas, as a specimen plant, mass plantings, and containers.
They make great container plants because of their colourful foliage. At the end of the season they can be taken out of the container and planted into the landscape or the entire container can be brought indoors for the winter, where the temperatures are just around 0, and then brought outdoors again in the spring.
There are lots of varieties to choose from. Some to watch for include:
- Keylime Pie – has chartreuse foliage, pink flowers, grows 15-30 cm tall
- Marmalade- has bronze/gold/peach maple shaped foliage, brownish flowers, grows 25-40 cm tall
- Dark Storm- large dark purple ruffled foliage, white flowers
- Cinnamon Curls- glossy, ruffled foliage, orange/red with purple tones, grows 20-30 cm. No significant flower
- Brazen Raison- large dark purple almost black matte foliage, showy pink/white flowers, 20-25 cm tall
- Purple Palace- deep purple foliage in spring that fades into bronze, white flowers, 30-60 cm
- Autumn Glow- slightly ruffled yellow foliage matures yellow/orange, white flowers, 25-30 cm