Heuchera plant care

Written by reannan raine
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Heuchera plant care
Heucheras are well-suited for use in rock gardens. (Heuchera image by Cambo from Fotolia.com)

The heuchera plant is available in a wide variety of foliage and flower colours. They bloom from late spring through early summer but, with their colourful foliage, they brighten the flower garden with colour well into autumn and even year-round in warmer climates. Proper care of the heuchera plant is essential for it to grow and bloom to its full potential.

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Planting

Heuchera should be planted in the spring to give it time to get well established before winter. Plant it about 30 cm (1 foot) away from other plants to give it plenty of room to grow. Put it in a location that provides some shade from the hot afternoon sun in southern climates. In cooler northern climates it can be planted in a location that receives full sun exposure.

Soil

The soil should be fertile and loamy with good drainage properties. Add well-aged compost or leaf mulch to enrich infertile soil prior to planting. Sand should be mixed into predominantly clay soil for improved drainage.

Water and fertiliser

Water heuchera plants once or twice per week depending on natural rainfall and temperatures. They should receive 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water per week and the soil should be kept evenly moist. Give them a balanced perennial plant fertiliser in the early spring; remove the flowers as they fade to encourage continued blooming.

Mulch

Mulch heucheras to a depth of 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) to help retain moisture and help prevent heaving. They are shallow-rooted plants and can be heaved up out of the soil from the winter thaw/freeze cycle. Keep the mulch 5 cm (2 inches) away from the crown of the plant to help prevent rot. Inspect the plants in the spring and re-plant them right away if they have been pushed out of the soil.

Division

Heuchera plants need to be divided every two to four years when the stems begin to look woody and the plants produce fewer flowers than normal. Divide in the spring to give the plants time to re-establish before winter. Dig up the plants and gently pull them apart if possible or cut through the roots with a sharp knife or shovel. Plant divisions in similar soil and light conditions and at the same depth they were previously growing.

Propagation

In addition to division, heuchera plants can be propagated from seed. The seeds may not produce exactly the same plant depending on the cultivar. Some hybrids will not grow true from seed. Seeds must be stratified, or refrigerated, for six weeks before planting. Sow them on top of the potting soil as they need light to germinate. Keep the soil moist by misting with a spray bottle. Plant the sprouted seedlings in separate pots and slowly reduce the frequency and amount of water but do not let the soil dry out completely. Plant outside in the garden after the last frost in spring.

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