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All Year Round Beauty with Heuchera

Published: 1st August, 2018

HeucheraHeuchera, also commonly known as Coral bells, are highly adaptable, easy to care for perennials that can bring colour to any area of the garden.  They come in all shapes and sizes and literally hundreds of stunning colours including bronzes, golds, oranges, yellows and limes, reds, purples and blacks to classic greens. Many feature beautiful veining, ruffled edges and hints of glittering silver and many will change colour with the seasons. The clump-forming foliage makes them excellent ground cover plants.

All Heuchera varieties do flower with bell shaped blooms on long stems emerging from the foliage in early summer, but the main story is the foliage which is just gorgeous all year round adding colour to the landscape whether in bloom or not. An extensive breeding program has been taking place and every year new varieties are introduced with slightly different characteristics so visit your local garden centre to check out the latest shapes and shades. You really will be spoilt for choice.

Heuchera thrive in British gardens. They are tough, slugs or snails don’t bother them, and they will tolerate just about any position including being planted in raised beds or pots. Though they will survive in full shade the colouring of the leaves may be affected so it’s best to opt for a sunny to partially shady area. As a rule of thumb, the darker the leaves the better they are able to cope with the full sun.

The only thing Heuchera are fussy about is drainage. They do not like heavy, water logged ground so ensure you have well drained soil or if planting in clay soils, add plenty of organic matter. Once they are established which is reasonably quickly, they will need little in the way of food – Some mulching in the spring and a handful of fish, blood and bone will provide them with all the nutrients they need.

When you plant heuchera make sure you do not bury the crown. This is where the new foliage will emerge from and with Heuchera ‘it’s all about the foliage’!

Do not prune Heuchera in the autumn. They are a broad-leaved evergreen and except in the coldest of winters they will retain their leaves throughout the year. The only maintenance that is needed is to clear away the few dead leaves at the bottom of the plant each spring.

Propagation can be carried out by division. Divide every three or four years and simply replant.  Just wait until the plant becomes dormant – from about October onwards.

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