Heucheras are low-maintenance perennials native to the northwestern United States that grow well in most parts of the country. They are loved chiefly for their colourful and patterned foliage. New varieties have been bred in leaf colours ranging from black to purple, bronze and even amber, often with mottled patterns or veins outlined in another colour. These new varieties have transformed heuchera over the last 20 years from an obscure plant to a garden staple. Heucheras are quite easy to care for, and in a congenial garden spot, they should live for many years with only minimal maintenance.
Water heucheras once a week if there has been no rain. Watering is the hardest part of plant care to get right. Heucheras like to be kept moist, but they do not like to sit in water-logged soil. Good drainage is imperative. Depending on your climate and the amount of sun reaching your heucheras, they might do well with more or less water. Start with watering once a week and modify to accommodate your particular conditions.
Mulch heucheras with compost or another organic mulch. This will help keep moisture from evaporating out of the ground, and as the compost decomposes and enriches the soil, it will also make it more moisture-retentive.
Divide plants every 3 to 4 years. Heuchera plants spread outward from their centres. When the centre starts to look straggly, divide the plants carefully into two or more pieces with the sharp point of a spade or trowel, and replant each section in a new spot.
Deadhead flowers if you want to promote reblooming. Heucheras grow tiny, bell-shaped flowers on tall stalks above the foliage in late spring. If you cut off the flowers as soon as they die, the plant may respond by blooming again with new flowers.
Locate heucheras in partly shaded places in your garden. They combine nicely with shade-tolerant phlox, ferns, hostas and bleeding heart. In many climates they will not go dormant, but will provide foliage and colour year-round.
Things you need
- Watering equipment (hose or watering can)
- Spade or trowel