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Mugshots: 9 Heucheras

Posted Jun 05 2009 5:07pm

I am excited to post what will hopefully be the first of many 'Mugshots' postings. When a plant in a catalog catches my eye, I often turn to the internet to find more information about it. How does the plant perform for other gardeners? What color is it really? How does it stack up to the other similar cultivars available? I can't offer much wisdom about growth habits, as all of my heucheras are less than two years old. But today I'll share pictures and information on the 9 heucheras (coral bells) I have growing in my yard. All of these are best grown in moist but well-drained soil with morning sun and afternoon shade.

1. June Bride
This plant is quite similar to the standard coral bells growing in your grandmother's garden, except the flowers are white. The name may not be completely accurate, as plants in warmer climates would probably begin blooming in May or even April. Mine has plenty of buds that will open near the first of June and would be lovely in a bridal bouquet. My plant is growing in mostly shade, so a plant growing in full sun would be more compact.

2. Patricia Louise
Here is another cultivar with plain green leaves, though this plant sports mid-toned coral-pink blossoms. The picture above shows three of the various heuchera bloom stalks from my garden. At the top is white Lime Rickey, burgandy-cream Prince of Silver is in the middle, and Patricia Louise is on the bottom. Don't you hate it when blogger rotates your picture and you can't figure out how to fix it?

3. Autumn Bride
And here the bells toll for my second bride of the year. Autumn Bride is a H. villosa cultivar, which makes it more drought tolerant and especially good for shady areas where tree roots suck up most of the water. As it is a new arrival this spring, I haven't seen the creamy flowers yet. But they're supposed to arrive in the fall and should make nice fillers for floral arrangements during a season when cut flowers can be hard to find in the garden.

4. Lime Rickey
Now we come to a heuchera grown for its foliage instead of flowers, though the flowers are dainty and white. The leaves start out a lemon yellow and become lime green in summer. I love the way this plant glows in the shade and plan to use it amongst various gold-patterned hostas in the shade beds that will eventually grace my garden.

5. Green Spice
This heuchera also sports white flowers, but its leaves definitely steal the show. As the season progresses, the burgandy color becomes less noticeable until the leaves appear just silvery-green. This is definitely another great choice to light up the shade.

6. Prince of Silver
Here we have another case of rotating-picture-angst. Please imagine that the stems are growing upward on this gorgeous plant. It's currently my favorite heuchera, which is why I included another leaf shot at the top of this post. The rich burgandy undersides of the leaves contrast beautifully with the silvery tops when the leaves dance in the breeze. This and all my other purple-leafed heucheras develop cream flowers on burgandy stems.

7. Plum Pudding
This baby plant is quite similar to Prince of Silver except the leaves have even more burgandy in them. The new leaf pictured will become more silvery with age. Last week I cut leaves from both Prince of Silver and Plum Pudding to wrap around tiny bouquets, and they were lovely. I'm excited to use them around white roses in nosegays this summer. Very striking!

8. Palace Purple
Here is the grande dame of all the purple-leaved heucheras. It doesn't have the fancy ruffles or silver overlays of newer cultivars but is still useful. My plants have a greenish tinge but will soon become deep plum purple. I believe this plant was purchased in a 4" pot for $3 at Home Depot last year.

9. Chocolate Ruffles
This plant was a no-namer brought home from Lowe's last week, but it looks like the picture of Chocolate Ruffles on Terra Nova's website. Aren't the ruffles fun? No post on heucheras would be complete without mentioning Terra Nova Nursery, as they are responsible for many of the new and exciting heuchera cultivars available today. You can see that I'm not growing any of the orangey cultivars, as they don't appeal to me. And I'm sticking mostly with white or cream flowers. The vivid pink and red flowers that I've seen on other heucheras aren't a good fit with my garden's color scheme. As new cultivars continue to be introduced, no doubt a few more heucheras will join my garden gang.
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