Commonly known as ‘Coral Bells’ the Heucheras are underused plants for the gardens of today. They are really useful as outstanding foliage plants when used in garden pots or in semi-shaded gardens. They look very good in shady spots providing year round colour. There are many foliage colour breaks from dark purples through to softer glowing coppers and into soft greens. When plants flower the blooms will last well as cuts in floral displays. All of the garden varieties of today look much better than the species. New release varieties are being introduced every year so smart gardeners can upgrade their displays as needed.
Heucheras of which there are many cultivars available are useful for displays in mixed garden beds. In warm areas plants will flower in twelve months and will overwinter. Plants in flower will grow up to 50cm high and 30cm wide which give a dramatic effect to landscape planting. Massed either in groups or mixed and massed they achieve good results with little effort.
All Heucheras prefer a semi-shaded to shaded position which protects the foliage of the plants from the harsh summer sun. We have found that growing in these conditions gives us plants that grow well and look healthy. Once again we have found them reasonably free of pests and diseases, a real bonus. Keep the plants well-watered and spread some fertiliser during the warmer months of the year to get these plants spreading their colour through your garden in shady areas.
Heucheras are native to the North American continent. Most garden varieties are bred from Heuchera sanguinea which is native to the area from Mexico to Arizona. Much work has been done in the breeding with enhanced foliage and improved flowering the result. Some breeding using a plant in the same general family, namely Tiarella cardifolia has given us the Heucherellas. These plants are generally sold as Heucheras but are really Heucherella tiarelloides. The same culture and care is given to both plants.