Heuchera Varieties

Discussion in 'Annuals, Biennials, Perennials, Ferns and Bulbs' started by Anne Taylor, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor Active Member 10 Years

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    Victoria B.C.
    I'm wondering if there are gardeners out there who, like me ,are seduced into buying some of those 'outstanding new' varieties of heuchera and then finding (two years later) the plant has diminished to bad woody stumps. I can appreciate the enthusiasm of new plant varieties but how thorough are field trials anyway? I remember buying an "amber waves" and being horrified at how quickly it disintegrated despite my best efforts. Has anyone got a favorite that really lives through the attacks from the root weevil family of pests and wants to get bigger rather than die a slow death? I'd love to find a green, a purple and a decent silver leaf pattern to plant in a group that I know will have a future! Of course they would need to recieve the same sun/shade too, and that is another description usually left rather unclear by the producers.
    Anyone with ideas?
    Anne
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Try lifting, shaking soil (and weevils) off into wheelbarrow or tub and replanting deeper, in summer. Primroses often require the same attention to persist here as well. Heuchera get stemmy and have to be replanted deeper anyway, even if not infested.
     
  3. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Ann--I've found "Stormy Seas" to be more vigorous than most, increasing well and doing fine in full sun if available. I agree that some other varieties can just sit there and not do much, at least with my normal neglectful gardening style.

    My garden is close to neutral pH here which might help. I seem to recall that they like a bit higher pH than many of our soils on the coast...

    I would just cut mine back in March if the gangly thing was getting too bad, (but I've never noticed root weevil damage on them that would make digging up and de-weeviling them desirable). The planting deeper trick would accomplish a similar thing then...
     
  4. Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks growest!
    Stormy Seas will get jotted down s a definite, as well as a touch of garden lime for my acidy oakleafy soil. I can look away from all the newer ones cause truth be told they were making me hungry anyhow,- with names like ...peach melba, marmalade, lime ricky, raspberry swirls, and creme brule...... producers are onto a good marketing thing for us middle aged female gardeners huh?
     
  5. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    I too have heard complaints about some of the new Heucheras, and 'Amber waves' in particular. According to a catalog 'Peach Melba' has more vigor then 'Amber Waves'. I only got mine this fall so I can't say for sure yet. I only learned about the root weevils the hard way. One source says peat in the soil can make it worse but I think I will dig up and inspect the roots every year from now on. Someone recommended 'Plum Pudding' and 'Green Spice' as good growers for them. The chartreuse colored ones like 'Lime Ricky' seem to be very slow growers for me so far. I have an old 'Purple Palace' that has always been a vigorous grower for me, even though it isn't as fancy. One grower has a strain they call something like 'Select Palace Purple' that is very nice. It would be interesting to here about other people's first hand reports.
    The sun question is a good one too. As best I can figure out the chartreuse ones need some shade, ones like 'Green Spice' will get more coloring with a fair amount of sun but I don't know how much would be too much, and the purple ones need sun for the best coloring but they can take some shade.
     
  6. malcolm197

    malcolm197 Active Member

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    For many plants try any UK garden website ( or the RHS site) and look for plants with "AGM" attached to the description. This is the Award of Garden Merit given by the Royal Horticultural Society after extensive trials at its trial grounds. Different plantsmen are invited to submit their own varieties in competition with others. All are grown under controlled conditions and the most "gardenworthy" plants are given the award. It is of course no guarantee that the particular cultivar will be a success in your specific garden, but at least it will not be a spectacularly weak plant in the general.
    Having identified a suitable candidate then source the same cultivar in your own country. You really need to find a plant grown under the same conditions as you have to minimise shock. I doubt there is any botanical basis for my belief that a plant grown next door to you is more likely to survive than one grown 2000 miles away, but in my experience plants sourced locally have a higher survival rate - certainly in my garden!National Horticultural Societies in other countries may have similar schemes.
    Note that while the RHS is a fairly scholarly outfit these trials take place to find the best plants for Tom, Dick or Harry to grow in their gardens.
     
  7. Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you thank you, Malcolm.
    I will indeed look at their list. I value anything that allows me to learn from others mistakes and discoveries. Who has time to start from the beginning with everything. The hype from the plant pornography folks in the glossy magazines are a bit off putting. So many folks come up to me gushing about something, waving the picture and wanting it in their garden and I'm inclined to tell them that the plant is been posed, the lovely intense green is a coloured filter on the camera lens, and the chance of that plant looking that good year after year are not reliable.
    Welcome to marketing 101 huh? I do love heucheras, as I love ( along with my resident deer population) hostas, and the success rate has been a little sketchy due to poor selection choice, the fact that I'm competeing with massive tree roots and assistance from both my pygmy goats (pruning experts) and my Jack Russell Terrier (digging and rockremoval expert). But I try.
    Cheers
    Anne
     
  8. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Anne,
    My recommendation for the best Heuchera I've ever grown is "Chocolate Ruffles". It's larger than "Stormy Seas" (which has tended to brown somewhat on me) and has lovely glossy deep purple leaves which look good all through the winter. I've divided it for giving away and replanted it deeper when it eventually got leggy.For a green with a bit of silver "Strawberry Swirl" has proven to be very sturdy and has nice pink flowers. I'd love to know which ones you or others have found reliable, especially smaller varieties
     
  9. acphm

    acphm Member

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    I've bought one each of Mocha, Citronella and Caramel...not much to look at when they arrived compared to the catalogue pictures. Actually, not much to look at now either. I'm curious to know more about them from the experienced gardeners out there. Is it normal for them to get brown spots and die off in the fall? If I trim off all the dead foliage, will it just go dormant and startup come spring? Plus, what kind of water requirement do they have? I got no information from the catalogue. Thanks!
     
  10. James D.

    James D. Active Member

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    if you still want a similar look for silver foliage try a Brunnera macrophylla , like jack frost. they love the shade and don't seem to be killed by weevils.
     
  11. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    Location:
    Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
    I recently bought Peach flambe and Marmalade. I planted them in a pot in light soil They are doing quite well. Peach flambe has lots of new leaves and is just magnificent. I have 3 other varieties that are still very small: Pewter Moon, Amethyst Myst, Velvet night.

    Any suggestions? Can they be grown in pots? Maybe this will eliminate all the problems with parasites?
     
  12. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    We added about 8 different Heuchera cultivars last year, all are potted. The ones I'm most impressed with in terms of how well they did are Mocha Mint and Sashay, they divided easily this spring and all have nicely filled out. Also have Key Lime Pie and am not impressed with its progress, guess I should have patience with this one.
     
  13. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    Pieter, how big are the pots that you used for Heucheras? What kind of soil mix did you use?
     
  14. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    I use gallon sized nursery pots, my mix is a combination of compost, sand, vermiculite, peat and bark. Proportions vary somewhat depending to a certain extent on what I have on hand. A lot of commercial pot mixes I have looked at tend to have a little too much peat in them for my liking, which will lead to drainage issues and can cause root rot if you're not careful, so I mix my own in my wheelbarrow. Take a closer look next time you're in a nursery and examine the mix used in their pots, you'll find bark or woodchips
    -usually chunks of between half and one inch- a major component in most of them. You want to make sure the roots are well aerated, too much peat interferes with that because it hangs on to the water.
     

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