Both heucheras and heucherellas are now available in a wide range of beautiful foliage colors and flower combinations that can make excellent plant additions to any gardens. In recent years there have been hundreds of new cultivar introductions of Heuchera and x Heucherella, as breeders have released many never-before-seen vibrantly colored heucheras and heucherellas.
So where did Heucheras and Heucherellas originate? Heuchera americana was discovered by the first American colonists and brought into European gardens in the 1600s. Heuchera is a member of the Saxifragaceae family as are Tiarellas. In 1912, Heuchera and very closely related Tiarella were artificially crossed to create the hybrid genus x Heucherella.
Some of the key differences between heucheras and heucherellas:
|Heuchera (Coral Bells or Alumroot)
|Heucherella (Foamy Bells)
|Wider range of colors, some with veining or ruffled edges
|More finely cut and delicate, more shade-tolerant
|Bell-shaped in white, pink, and red
|Bell-shaped in white, pink, and red
|Mounding clumps, typically 12-24 inches tall and wide
|Mounding clumps, typically 10-18 inches tall and wide
|Prefers well-drained soil and partial shade, drought-tolerant once established. Some newer varieties are more heat and humidity tolerant.
|Slightly more shade-tolerant and moisture-tolerant, slightly more susceptible to vine weevil larvae
With evergreen Heucheras and x Heucherellas, gardeners can enjoy splashes of rich color through the seasons. Gardeners can reliably count on a full season of foliage color in their garden with a larger array of foliage and flower colors.
- can and should be divided. Dig up three-year-old clumps and pull rooted offsets apart. Smaller offsets may need to be potted, then replanted in a well-prepared bed.
- both have good drought tolerance. During the growing season, 1" of water per week will suffice. Less during winter to avoid winter root rot.
- are generally not affected by insect pests in the garden. However, black vine weevils may occasionally, especially in the Pacific Northwest, be an issue.
Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your personal preferences and gardening conditions. If you are looking for a plant with showy foliage and a wide range of colors, heuchera is a good choice. If you prefer a plant with more delicate foliage and shade tolerance, heucherella is a good choice.
Heucheras, also known as coral bells, are a genus of flowering plants in the family Saxifragaceae. They are native to North America, where they are found in woodlands, meadows, and rocky outcrops. Heucheras are prized for their ornamental foliage, which comes in a wide range of colors, including red, pink, purple, orange, and green. They also produce delicate, bell-shaped flowers in shades of white, pink, and red.
Heucheras are relatively easy to plant and care for. They prefer moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. They can be planted in full sun or partial shade. In hot climates, it is best to plant heucheras in a shady location with morning sun. Hybrid Heuchera have a wide variability of cold tolerance and heat/humidity tolerance. Eastern species are more heat and humidity tolerant than western ones. Cultivars with Heuchera micrantha heritage are not as cold or heat tolerant as Heuchera villosa and Heuchera richarsonii offspring. The western species tend to melt in the summer heat and humidity of the south but Heuchera villosa, Heuchera americana, and Heuchera pubescens perform very well in humid gardens. The hybrid x Heucherella are generally less heat and cold tolerant than either parent.
How to plant heucheras:
- Choose a planting site with appropriate sunlight and shade.
- Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball of the plant.
- Gently loosen the roots of the plant and place it in the hole.
- Fill the hole with soil and tamp it down gently.
- Water the plant thoroughly.
Heucheras are drought-tolerant once they are established, but they will benefit from regular watering during their first year of growth. They should also be watered deeply during hot, dry spells.
Heucheras do not need a lot of fertilizer. A light application of compost in the spring is usually enough.
Heucheras are generally pest- and disease-free. However, they may be susceptible to vine weevil larvae, which can damage the roots of the plant. If you notice any signs of vine weevil damage, you can treat the plants with an insecticidal soap or neem oil.
- Dig up the plant in the fall or spring.
- Use a sharp knife to divide the plant into sections, ensuring that each section has a healthy root system.
- Replant the divisions in the same manner as you would plant a new heuchera.
- With proper care, heucheras will provide years of colorful beauty to your garden.
Heucherellas are a beautiful group of flowering plants that are a cross between heucheras and tiarelllas. They combine the best features of both parents, with attractive foliage and delicate flowers. Heucherellas are relatively easy to grow and care for, and they make a great addition to any garden.
Heucherellas thrive in well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. They prefer a location that receives partial shade, but some varieties can tolerate full sun in cooler climates. It's best to plant heucherellas in the spring or fall when the soil is cool and moist.
How to plant heucherellas:
- Choose a planting site: Select a location that receives up to 4-6 hours of sunlight per day. If you live in a hot climate, opt for a shadier spot.
- Prepare the soil: Amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to improve drainage and add organic matter.
- Dig a planting hole: Dig a hole twice the width of the plant's root ball.
- Position the plant: Gently loosen the roots of the heucherella and place it in the hole. Ensure the crown of the plant (where the leaves meet the roots) sits slightly above the soil level.
- Backfill and water: Fill the hole with soil, tamp it down gently, and water thoroughly.
Heucherellas are relatively low-maintenance plants once established. They are drought-tolerant but appreciate regular watering during their first year of growth. Water deeply during hot, dry spells.
Fertilize heucherellas lightly in spring with a balanced fertilizer or compost. Avoid overfertilizing, which can lead to leggy growth.
Heucherellas are generally disease-resistant and pest-free. However, they may be susceptible to vine weevil larvae, which can damage the roots. If you notice signs of vine weevil damage, use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the plants.
Divide heucherellas every 3-4 years to prevent overcrowding and maintain their vigor. Divide them in spring or fall when the soil is cool.
- How to divide heucherellas:
- Dig up the plant: Gently dig up the heucherella, taking care not to damage the roots.
- Separate the divisions: Use a sharp knife to divide the plant into sections, ensuring each division has a healthy root system.
- Replant the divisions: Replant the divisions in prepared holes, following the same planting instructions as for new heucherellas.
With proper care, heucherellas will bring years of vibrant foliage and delicate flowers to your garden.