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What’s not to love about Heucheras?

Heuchera – one of its common names is Coral Bells – is a North American native plant with several species native to Maryland.

Most of what are sold are hybrids combining the best traits of several species of Heuchera.  Some are grown for the small flowers, some for the bold foliage, and a lucky few for both. Pretty much what we have in stock at the moment are the hybrids featuring colorful foliage.  In the last several years, a number of hybrids with improved summer-heat tolerance have been released for sale, and I have found them to be robust both in pots and in the ground.

Great in containers in morning sun with afternoon shade, they are a good specimen plant or filler plant. The foliage comes in chartreuse, gold, brown, purple or silver tones with the color being strongest in the cooler weather of spring and fall.

Depending on how sheltered they are and the severity of the winter, some of the Heucheras make a good foliage display year-round.

In the ground, they are best in bright shade, or with a few hours of morning sun and shade the rest of the day. They need good soil drainage.  That means no standing water after a rain storm; maybe planted on a bit of a slope.

Planting in the summer is always more challenging than planting in the fall or spring.  That said, if you water them every couple of days for the first two weeks or so, they should get established without any difficulty.

by Larry Hurley, Behnke’s Perennials Specialist

Larry Hurley, perennials specialist for Behnke Nurseries (now retired), started with Behnke’s in1984. Larry enjoys travel, food and photography. He and his wife Carolyn have visited Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Brazil, South Korea and much of Europe. Their home is on a shady lot where a lot of perennials have met their Maker over the years.

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