HARDY PERENNIALS: HEUCHERA

Wherever a garden has well drained soil, Heucheras will flourish and add a unique charm to the early summer scene. They have attractive evergreen foliage which with overlapping and often marbled leaves of rounded ivy shape, is pleasing even when not in flower. In May, the slender stems rise to unfurl with a spike of small bell shaped flowers in a pleasing range of colour, from white to pink, salmon, red and crimson, varying in height from 12 inches to 2½ feet and lasting in flower till well into July. The plants have one fault, despite them being fully hardy and long lived.. It is that the crowns above ground gradually extend so that after a few years they become woody and less likely to produce flowers. The remedy is to dig up the plant and pull off some of the crowns which have fibrous roots attached and after preparing the soil again, plant them back more deeply, till only the leafy upper part is above ground and then firm well. This, and any new planting can be done best in late summer or early autumn, but otherwise they are safe enough to move in winter or spring.

The variety H. ‘Scintillation’’ has received the highest possible Awards from the R.H.S. and the red tipped pink bells add much to its brilliance. H. ‘Coral Cloud’ has smaller flowers on longer stems at 2 ½ feet with H. ‘Firebird’ a telling red of 2 feet. H. ‘Freedom’ is light pink and dwarf only 18 inches high, but both H. ‘Greenfinch’—a greenish white and H. ‘Hyperion’ coral pink, are very strong growing with 2 ½ feet spikes. H. ‘Pearl Drops’ has small gracefully carried flowers. H. ‘Pretty’Polly’ is a large flowered clear pink barely 12 inches high. The brightest deep red, with large bells is H. ‘Red Spangles’ with H. ‘Shere Variety’ more of a scarlet red, both 2 feet. H. ‘Splendour’ is outstanding for its glowing salmon scarlet flowers and H. ‘Sunset’ has coral red lips to deep pink bells.

So much for the named varieties, which can only be increased by division. The best strain of mixed colours from seed is undoubtedly H. ‘Bressingham Hybrids’ in which the full range of colour is seen.

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