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All Year Round Colour and Interest

Posted on 10th February 2016

Heuchera are among the most versatile of herbaceous perennials and there are many decorative cultivars available in a range of colours from the caramel golden ‘Marmalade’ to deep purple foliage of ‘Obsidian’ with a whole range of variegation effects such as the silvery crackle glaze of ‘Pewter Moon’ and many with crinkled and wavy leaf margins such as ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ and ‘Melting Fire’.

Heuchera form a basal rosette of leaves and are semi evergreen so they pretty much keep themselves neat and tidy and have the benefit of all year round colour and interest. Fairly low growing at 30-40cm the foliage will form a colourful mat and in later spring to early summer the delicate spikes of pale, creamy or coral coloured tubular flowers temporarily give a lighter, more ethereal effect.

An excellent choice for the UK climate, they do not do so well in very strong sunshine and prefer a cooler semi shaded environment and can even tolerate deep shade. They can cope with shade and some dryness at the roots and therefore make excellent ground cover under trees and larger shrubs. They do not spread very quickly so can be planted densely to create a tapestry effect without them becoming invasive and they don’t compete with their neighbours when planted in a mixed planting scheme.

Maintenance involved cutting back the faded flower stems after flowering has finished and then in late winter/early spring some of the leaves will have become tatty and will need snipping off. Once they have been tidied up in early spring they will benefit from a mulch to keep the roots moist and cool especially if they are planted in full sun. They can be propagated by division in autumn or early spring and will benefit from being divided every 4-5 years. They are best planted in a moderately fertile, moist but well drained, neutral soil but can tolerate most soils unless they are waterlogged or extremely dry.