Friday, September 05, 2008

Heucheras (coral bells) and kin

Our trees and shrubs have grown considerably and consequently we have lots of shade now. Our once barren yard is mostly shaded and many of the struggling, wan, sun loving plants need to be replaced. Luckily we found the wholesale nursery which has a good selection of shade loving plants. We bought many Brunnera, Dicentra, Ligularia, Tricyrtis, and now Huecheras. The picture above shows our recent haul. I hadn't looked at Huecheras for many years and didn't realize they had so many great varieties now with many different leaf colors.

It will be a busy weekend of planting but I hope we get some rain from Hanna. We haven't had a real rain for about 2 months - the earth is parched and bone dry.

H. 'Georgia Peach'

Heucherella 'Alabama Sunrise'

H. x villosa, 'Encore'

H. 'Crimson Curls'

H. 'Tiramisu'

H. 'Christa'

H. 'Ginger Ale'

H. 'Caramel'

H. 'Citronelle'

Tiarella, Allegheny Foam Flower, 'Wherryi'

Tiarella are related to Huechera. The look-a-like's are both in the Saxifrage family but the Tiarella blooms in spring and Huechera in summmer.

Interestingly Huechera and Tiarella are crossed, producing the hybrid Heucherella. The 'Alabama Sunrise' in the third photo from the top is an example of this cross breeding. It will be interesting to see whether it blooms in spring or summer.

Here's an interesting University of Arkansas website with lots of information about Huecherella and a great explanation of the x in hybrid notation. Here's an excerpt:

"The "x" is a universal symbol used to denote a plant hybrid. The placement of the symbol is important. If it’s placed between the two names of a plant, that tells us that the hybrid is a cross between two species within a genus, as was the case of Dragonwing begonia we discussed last week. These are called interspecific hybrids."

"But when the "x" comes before the plant name, that tells us we are dealing with an intergeneric hybrid - a cross between two different plant genera. Because the symbol seems to dangle in the stream of a sentence, non-plant people involved in editing copy do all sorts of things with the pesky "x", most often omitting it all together."

Now you know - I didn't.


Blogger joey said...

I've been haunted by heucheras for years, Ki (and know now you will be also) ;)

7:42 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Joey,
Ah, sigh, another obsession, I'm afraid :D I have to stop before we become penniless.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Jan said...

I love heucheras, and you showed some great examples. Unfortunately, they do not seem to do well for me. They just seem to gradually decline after a year or two. It seems to be too hot for them here, even though the experts keep saying they do well this far south. It is nice to see pictures like yours.

Always Growing

5:06 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Jan,

The zone 4-9 is listed for Heucheras so theoretically they should grow in your zone 9. It's unfortunate that they don't grow well in Louisiana. Thanks for visiting and for your comments.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Great haul, Ki--I'm jealous! I've not seen 'Georgia Peach' or 'Christa' before... but that's probably a good thing for me. I already have the heuchera problem Joey has, too. :)

Are you going to try 'Caramel' in a sunnier spot? Supposedly those with h. villosa in their parentage are more tolerant of sunshine than most other heucheras are...

9:10 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kim,
Thanks for the info on H. villosa. I will try to find a sunnier spot for Caramel. I was wondering if Caramels color would tend more towards green rather than tan if placed under full shade so your info saved me the experiment ;D

I wonder if all plants people have OCD? Well, let's see, I have 20+ Japanese maple trees, the same number of magnolias, probably 10+ different Epimediums, numerous orchids, many Viburnums etc., etc.
Lock me up!

Thanks for the visit.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Entangled said...

May I put in a good word for a named variety of a native Heuchera? Heuchera americana 'Bartram' has been a very dependable plant for me through several years now in the dry shade of tall trees. It's not as showy as the new hybrids, but does have attractive foliage.

How did your garden fare through the storm?

5:41 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Entangled,

I'll look for 'Bartram'. We have a really tough dry spot under a large linden tree and most of the plants we've tried have done poorly. Even the Epimedium is having a difficult time growing and it's supposedly drought resistant.

Hanna was not much of a storm here. The winds were 25-30 mph but we got much needed rain. No downed limbs and most of the taller flowers managed to stay up. I think the weather report said we got about 5" but I doubt that. Probably closer to 3". The ground was so parched there was hardly any run-off. There were fissures in the clay soil because of the dryness so all the rain poured into those cracks. At least I won't have to hand water for a week. ;)

Thanks for the plant suggestion.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Ki, I haven't tried 'Caramel' in my own garden yet, so I'd love to hear how it does for you in a little more sun than usual.

Thanks to Entangled for the lead on heuchera americana 'Bartram,' too. I had never heard of that one, but it's very pretty.

1:53 PM  

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