Heuchera

Heuchera will grow in almost any soil, except stiff clay, although they really like a good, deeply cultivated site with plenty of sun and good drainage. To keep the plants in free-flowering, healthy condition, occasional division is advisable, even when plants are not being propagated to increase stocks. If the crowns are replanted fairly deeply and firmly they will soon establish themselves, but if this is not done they have the tendency to grow out of the ground, and then always look insecure and get blown about.

Some varieties, such as H. tiarelloides, which has carmine-pink flowers, commence to bloom at the end of May and go on giving colour over a period of many weeks. Dry-weather conditions will not prevent them flowering, although occasional applications of liquid manure do help to maintain a plentiful supply of charming blooms which give a unique brightness to a border, rock garden or wherever the plants are grown.

Heuchera brizoides

The range of varieties is quite wide, although some of the older sorts are rarely seen nowadays. These include H. pubescens growing 12 in. high with crowded panicles of dainty pink flowers, the plants being covered with a powdery down. H. villosa has small, loosely arranged flower-spikes of violet-coloured flowers, which appear in August and September. It is, however, from H. bripides, clear rose-carmine, and its varieties that the best displays are secured. Included in these is H. gracillima, which produces very freely rosy-crimson blooms, while the very fine ‘Pink Spray’ is a most charming, bright carmine-pink species, often reaching 18-24 in. high. H. brkoides, ‘Bloom’s Variety’, is undoubtedly one of the best of all and is a lovely bright red, while other excellent sorts include `Pluie de Feu’, brilliant fiery-red, and Sanguinea, ‘Edge Hail’, pale-pink flowers on 2-ft stems.

‘Freedom’ is bright rose-pink and ‘Oakington jewel’ deep coral-rose, with a coppery tinge.

Among the other very finest varieties worth growing are ‘Ibis’, which shows its rosy flowers from May to August on 2-ft stems, and ‘Mary Rose’, deep pink.

The Bressingham Hybrids include a wide colour range, varying from pale pink to intense crimson, and contain both tall and dwarfer growing sorts.

Used as plants for the front of the border, they are capable of providing a blaze of colour, while they are valuable as cut flowers and have been used for table decoration to great advantage. Although these are days in which there is usually a demand for size in flowers, the heuchera is a subject which by its gracefulness and almost fragile appearance has made a place for itself. Not the least of the plant’s merits is the habit of the foliage of colouring up well during the winter.

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