Heucheras are plants of the genus Heuchera and the family of Saxifragaceae. They are highly sought after for the beauty of their semi-evergreen or evergreen decorative foliage which comes in a infinite tonal palette, with the exception of blue. These perennials, nicknamed “Painter’s Despair”, are adorned with multiple flowers in summer. They are essential for creating sumptuous beds and beautiful rock gardens in shaded areas. By associating different heuchères, you can enjoy a real artist’s picture almost ten months a year, or even all year round depending on the varieties chosen. Easy to grow, they really deserve a place of choice in the ground as well as in pots. Let’s take a look at their planting and care.
Plant a Heuchera
It’s important to fertilize the soil well of garden before planting heucheras because these plants need a rich soil. Regarding the planting period, it runs from spring until autumn. Every gardener can therefore plant these plants with spectacular foliage at any time outside of winter.
The planting a Heuchera in the ground proceeds as follows.
- Hydrate the root ball by immersing it in a bucket of water for about ten minutes.
- Dig a hole twice as large as the root ball.
- Place at the bottom of the hole:
- a drainage layer (pozzolan, gravel, etc.) especially if the garden soil is clayey and heavy,
- a small shovelful of planting soil.
- Place the rehydrated root ball in the center of the hole.
- Reseal, making sure to bury the basal stem and leave the collar flush with the level of the ground.
- Tamp lightly.
- Place a mulch at the foot of the plant to better preserve the freshness.
If one wishes plant several heucheras – and the choice is vast – it is necessary to separate them from each other by at least 40 centimeters so that they have enough space to develop properly.
The planting a Heuchera in a pot requires compliance with the following points.
- Choose a large pierced pot.
- Immerse the root ball for a few minutes in a basin of water to rehydrate it.
- Place at the bottom of the pot:
- a drainage layer of the clay pebble type, gravel, pieces of terracotta,
- part of the substrate composed of 70% potting soil and 30% sand.
- Install the Heuchera in the center of the pot.
- Fill the voids with the rest of the substrate and make sure to bury the basal stem.
- Toss with delicacy.
All that remains is to position the pot on the terrace or balcony for example, preferably in partial shade.
For an even more spectacular effect, you can create beautiful compositions in pots. You must then choose a sufficiently spacious container that can accommodate a Heuchera, grasses, bulbs of spring-flowering plants or even a Coleus, a perennial Geranium, an Ivy… It’s up to everyone to create the desired effect: volume, contrast, shades…
L’Heuchère likes moist, moist, well-drained soils, neither too clayey nor heavy, and is not demanding in terms of pH. In general, all these plants prefer to be installed in areas of the garden that benefit from a sufficient shade during the hottest hours in summer. However, they need several hours of moderate sunlight each day to bloom profusely.
It is therefore necessary to find a good compromise, knowing that an area that is always in the shade and humid is unsuitable for these plants but that the direct sun in summer can burn their leaves and that the light-colored heuchera do not tolerate hot weather. So let’s say that in partial shade, they will be quite happy.
You should never lose sight of the fact that the Heuchera that you want to grow in a pot, in a planter or in a tub, must benefit from a fairly large container, imperatively with a pierced bottom, and it is recommended to place it at the bottom of the pot. a drainage layer such as a bed of clay pebbles or gravel for example.
Maintaining a Heuchera
Easy to cultivate, the Heuchera does not have great needs. It is suitable for all gardeners, even beginners.
Adding compost at the foot of the Heuchère is essential in the spring and this fertilization can be repeated during the fall.
At the very end of winter, it is necessary to fold back each tuft of Heuchera. This has the effect of promoting the development of new leaves from the next season. Of course, the plant must be cleaned by cutting off the dry leaves or those that have blackened in winter.
Pests and diseases
The heucheras being pest and disease resistant, they do not require any special treatment. It is mainly those grown in pots that can be infested by the larvae ofvine orthorhynchus (Othiorhynchus sulcatus) as well as adults. It suffices to mulch the base of the heuchera to limit the risk of invasion.
In any case, the infested plants present leaves whose edges are chipped by the adult pests, and their roots are devoured by the larvae. These can be eliminated by the nematodes which feed on them. Finally, it is still necessary to unpot the Heuchera concerned in order to eliminate all the substrate infested with eggs, then to repot it using a healthy substrate.
Water the heuchera
After planting, it is essential to water the heuchera sufficiently to facilitate their recovery, but always with a light hand. Heucheras do not appreciate excess water or water that stagnates at their feet. This is why they must benefit from a well-drained growing medium.
Once they are perfectly rooted, they are therefore watered moderately so that their beautiful foliage does not dry out. Particular care must be taken in terms of watering heuchera grown in pots because their substrate dries much faster than the soil of beds and flowerbeds.
But regardless of where they are installed, more attention should be paid to watering them in summer, especially since it is during the summer season that the heuchera bloom. To be able to admire their abundant bell-shaped flowers carried by erect stems that can reach 80 cm in height, it is better not to let these perennials die of thirst!