Heuchera, Hybrid Cultivars
Ideal Sun Conditions:
Heucheras are native to the North American continent and make wonderful foliage and flower plants for your woodland border. Grown mostly for its interesting, evergreen foliage, coral bells will continue to flower on mature plants if kept deadheaded into the summer. Although the native heucheras are great in themselves, there are hundreds of hybrid cultivars to choose from. Heucheras now come in almost any color foliage (including apricot, white, cream silver, green, lime, burgundy, maroon, bronze, red, plum and purple) and every imaginable mottling and variegation of its lobed, almost scalloped, heart shaped leaves.
The two heurcheras in the picture are H. sanguinea ‘Firefly’ (green with light mottling on foliage) and H. ‘Stormy Seas,’ with purple foliage).
The best bets for our area are varieties or cultivars from Heuchera sanguinea, a species native to New Mexico and Arizona. H. 'Firefly' is a The heucheras with lighter foliage, such as the peachy or orange colored and the white variegated foliage has died out after a year or two.
For a more in depth article on Heucheras, click on this article from PlantDelights.com.
For more information about the best species for the High Plains, Heuchera sanguinea, click here.
Use in Garden
One of the perfect plants for dry shade, I say Heuray for Heucheras! Place at the front of a part sun/part shade border. I've planted heucheras close to our house on the north side, where nearly no sun shines, yet H. sanguinea flowers profusely in spring. Also great for bordering a shady location or woodland garden. Even if yours don't flower, you'll be thrilled by the foliage.
They pair well with geraniums (cranebills), aquilegias (columbines) and corydalis to give a woodland or shady area texture and interest. These four genera all have similar soil and water requirements.
With all the hybrids on the market -- over 200 -- it's hard to resist. They work great in containers. On some of the more outlandish foliar colors, buy them as seasonal plants for container arrangements. The green-leafed heucheras will always be the longest lived. The green pigment, chlorophyll, photosynthesizes sunlight into plant energy. Other leaf colors lacking in this essential green pigment won't produce as much energy, resulting in diminished longevity.
Topdress 1 inch of with compost spring and fall. Deadhead to prolong blooming. Some references note that the clump needs to be divided every 3-4 years in fall or late winter, as the rootstock gets quite woody. Dividing promotes longevity and better looks. Having said that, I've grown coral bells for 8-10 years without dividing and they still look great.