Named for 17th-century German botanist and physician Johann Heinrich Von Heucher, the heuchera has enjoyed a surge of interest as gardeners increasingly rely on ornamental foliage for their landscapes. Also known as coral bells and alum root, a native plant that began as a member of the herbal garden has taken center stage in the flowerbed.
The flowers of coral bells are small in size, yet they exert a significant effect on the wildlife in your garden—both butterflies and hummingbirds will visit the nectar-rich blooms in late spring and summer. Explore the top 10 heuchera varieties that could form the beginning of a new collection in your woodland garden.
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Heuchera 'Melting Fire'
'Melting Fire' heuchera plants feature deeply ruffled foliage that varies from crimson to purple, depending on the season and light exposure in the garden. Dainty white flowers characteristic of the genus appear in late spring on 18-inch stems and may endure for two months.
Dark-leaved cultivars such as 'Melting Fire' are prone to leaf scorch in full sun areas. Afternoon shade will protect the leaf margins from browning, and regular moisture during dry periods helps all heuchera plants to thrive.
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Heuchera 'Lime Marmalade'
Every shady garden spot needs a shot of chartreuse to inject energy into the landscape, and heuchera 'Lime Marmalade' fulfills that role. This gorgeous variety doesn't darken or fade over the season, but will retain the bright green color that make its flowers a beautiful afterthought. 'Lime Marmalade' also forms a pleasing mound in your summer containers, providing a green foil for pink or purple plants and flowers.
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The presence of contrasting veins on many heuchera varieties expands its color palette and is in part responsible for the introduction of scores of new cultivars in recent years. The lime green foliage with red veins of 'Electra' offers up fun possibilities in garden design. Pair it with a red wax begonia or New Guinea impatiens to accentuate the veining.
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Heuchera 'Venus' is right at home in a white flower garden or moon garden. The silvery foliage resembles stained glass and darker veining pops when you plant 'Venus' with darker companion plants such as bugbane (Cimicifuga) or purple shamrock (Oxalis). Keep heuchera plants like 'Venus' from experiencing frost heaving in the winter with a 3-inch layer of mulch.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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'Caramel' coral bells bring a ray of sunshine to the garden with leaves of rust, orange, and gold appearing all at once on dense mounding plants that reach 18 inches across. This variety performs well in hot and humid areas, serving as a ground cover, border specimen, or woodland garden accent. Water at least once a week to prevent brown leaf margins from detracting from the plant's beauty.
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Heuchera 'Can Can'
Fancy ruffled leaves and mystic purplish-silver leaves that seem to change color in the light make 'Can Can' a lively addition to the partially sunny garden. Like many heuchera varieties, 'Can Can' leaves are bright purple on the reverse side, which makes them attractive from all angles in the garden or as foliar accents in the vase.
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Heuchera 'Amber Waves'
Heuchera 'Amber Waves' has the lustiest orange hue of any of the coral bells. The plant resembles a mass of the most perfect fall foliage you've ever seen when it emerges. This cultivar performs well through moderate drought, but a partially shady site is best to prevent the magnificent foliage from bleaching.
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Heuchera 'Midnight Rose'
'Midnight Rose' is a special plant for the heuchera collector. Not many plants can boast the unusual coloration of deep wine punctuated with a smattering of magenta speckles. 'Midnight Rose' deserves a premium spot in a container on your front porch or deck, where you can observe its unusual coloration at eye level.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Are you bored with the same old green plants? You won't find a hint of green on this psychedelic wonder that screams orange, red and purple from every cell, even on its stems. It's best to pair this diva with a calming silver or grey plant to avoid visual confusion.