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How to grow heucheras - heuchera and brunnera pot display

How to grow heucheras

How to grow heucheras, plus our pick of the best heucheras and heucherellas to grow.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Divide
Divide

Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do not Divide in March

Do not Divide in April

Do not Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do Divide in September

Do Divide in October

Do Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Cut back
Cut back

Do not Cut back in January

Do not Cut back in February

Do not Cut back in March

Do not Cut back in April

Do not Cut back in May

Do not Cut back in June

Do not Cut back in July

Do Cut back in August

Do Cut back in September

Do not Cut back in October

Do not Cut back in November

Do not Cut back in December

  • Plant size

    50cm height

    50cm spread

Heucheras are shade-loving plants, native to the woodlands of North America. Grown for their foliage, their leaves come in a huge range of colours from red, purple, vivid green and even silver, and they bear attractive flowers in summer, too. Heucheras make excellent ground cover plants, and work well in winter pot displays. Members of the saxifrage family, heucheras are also known as coral bells and alumroot.

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Heucheras are related to tiarellas, also known as foamflower, which have a different shaped leaf and ‘foam’-like flowers. Many breeders have crossed heucheras with tiarellas to produce hybrids known as ‘heucherellas’. Heucherellas have brightly coloured foliage. Like heucheras, they thrive in shade and work well as ground cover plants. Some have a trailing habit and can be grown in hanging baskets.

How to grow heucheras

Most heucheras do best in dappled shade. Plant them in moist but well-drained soil, or in a loam-base compost if growing in pots. In summer, feed fortnightly with a tomato feed and keep out of direct sun. Tidy the leaves in autumn as they can become tatty. Check pot-grown heucheras regularly for vine weevil grubs, as they are particularly susceptible to this pest.

More on growing heucheras:

How to grow heucheras: jump links


Where to grow heucheras

Heucheras growing in a mixed border next to a path
Heucheras growing in a mixed border next to a path

Most heucheras require dappled shade to grow well, although some do best with a little more sun. Always check the label. Avoid deep shade as this is too much for them. Heucheras thrive in well-drained soil. If you have heavy clay, grow your heucheras in pots.

How to plant heucheras

Planting a heuchera in a pot
Planting a heuchera in a pot

Plant heucheras from May to September, at the same depth they were growing in their pot, firm well around the rootball and water well. In pots, use a loam-based compost. It’s a good idea to add a thick layer of gravel around pot-grown heucheras so the compost is completely covered. This not only conserves moisture but also prevents vine weevils from laying their eggs.


Caring for heucheras

Watering heucheras
Watering heucheras

Keep your heucheras out of direct sun. Water pot-grown heucheras regularly but make sure the water can drain from the pot. In summer, feed them fortnightly with tomato food. Tidy around the foliage and remove old leaves in autumn. After around five years, heuchera foliage stars to flatten down. Rejuvenate the plant by lifting and dividing it, using the divisions to propagate new plants.

Preparing heucheras for winter

Heucheras have shallow roots, which means they’re prone to ‘frost heaving’, where the plants are pushed out of the soil by developing ice. This results in the rootball sitting proud of the soil surface, where it can dry out and kill the plant. Add a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant every autumn, to prevent this.


Growing heucheras: pests and problem solving

Vine weevil on a heuchera leaf
Vine weevil on a heuchera leaf

Vine weevils are the biggest problem for heucheras. The adults cut notches in the leaf edges, and the grubs eat the plant roots. Check your pot-grown heucheras regularly by gently tugging their stems. If they come away easily, empty the pot and remove any grubs you find (leave them as a treat for the birds). Then wash the roots, ensuring all traces of eggs and grubs are gone, and replant them. Add a thick layer of gravel over the compost, as this can help prevent vine weevils from laying eggs.

Growing heucheras: buying advice

  • Always check the label – there’s no point in buying sun-loving heucheras if you intend to grow them in shade
  • Choose from a variety of different lead colours. Some silver and dark-leaved heucheras work wonderfully together, while lime-green heucheras look vibrant and fresh
  • Heucheras are available from a wide range of garden centres and nurseries, but you will find more choice at specialist nurseries

Where to buy heucheras

Best heucheras to grow

1

Heuchera ‘Mint Julep’

Heuchera 'Mint Julep'
Heuchera ‘Mint Julep’

Heuchera ‘Mint Julep’ has bright lime-green leaves, which mature to a mint-green with prominent silver veining. White flowers are borne on short stems in summer.


2

Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’

Heuchera 'Lime Marmalade'
Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’

Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’ is slightly more tolerant of sun than similar varieties. Leaves are bright lime green, which contrast beautifully with white flowers in summer.


3

Heuchera ‘Sashay’

Heuchera 'Sashay'
Heuchera ‘Sashay’

Heuchera ‘Sashay’ has deeply cut, ruffled dark green leaves with attractive, burgundy pink undersides.


4

Heuchera ‘Spellbound’

Heuchera 'Spellbound'
Heuchera ‘Spellbound’

Heuchera ‘Spellbound’ has incredible, silver-purple leaves, which develop more of a silver sheen when plants are grown in shade. White flowers are borne on tall stems in summer.


5

Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’

Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie'
Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’

Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’ bears dramatic berry-red foliage, which deepens to purple.


6

Heuchera ‘Delta Dawn’

Heuchera 'Delta Dawn'
Heuchera ‘Delta Dawn’

Heuchera ‘Delta Dawn’ plum coloured leaves with striking yellow margins. It flowers from May to June.


7

Heuchera ‘Plum Royale’

Heuchera 'Plum Royale'
Heuchera ‘Plum Royale’

Heuchera ‘Plum Royale’ produces deep purple foliage, with flowers appearing in May and June.


8

Heuchera ‘Tiramisu’

Heuchera 'Tiramisu'
Heuchera ‘Tiramisu’

Gold-edged, orange-pink flowers mature to golden yellow with red veins. The cooler weather in autumn then brings on deeper leaf colours again. White flowers are borne on short stems in summer. Perfect for dappled shade and pots.


9

Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’

Heuchera 'Georgia Peach'
Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach’

Large, rounded silver-peach leaves. It grows well in sun or shade and bears white flowers in summer. It’s ideal for growing at the front of a mixed herbaceous border, and is also suited to growing in pots.


10

Heuchera ‘Chocolate Ruffles’

Heuchera 'Chocolate Ruffles'
Heuchera ‘Chocolate Ruffles’

Exquisite chocolate coloured leaves with a rich burgundy underside. In summer, masses of creamy white flowers appear on tall stems. ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ is more drought tolerant than other heucheras, making it an ideal choice for growing in dry shade, such as beneath trees and shrubs.


Best heucherellas to grow

11

Heucherella ‘Brass Lantern’

Heucherella 'Brass Lantern'
Heucherella ‘Brass Lantern’

Heucherella ‘Brass Lantern’ is semi-evergreen and has golden leaves which become chocolate brown in winter. White flowers appear in early summer.

12

Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’

Heucherella 'Golden Zebra'
Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’

Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’ is an unusual heucherella, with feathery, golden foliage with red central markings.


13

Heucherella ‘Solar Power’

Heucherella 'Solar Power'
Heucherella ‘Solar Power’

Heucherella ‘Solar Power’ has striking chocolate-brown leaves with a lime-green margin. Plants form a compact dome, and make excellent ground cover.

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