The vibrant colours and patterns of heuchera leaves have made them phenomenally popular, and their often-beautiful flowers are very attractive to bees. Tiarella have fizzy-looking flowers that bring colour to shady spring borders, and heucherellas, a cross between the two, often combine the best attributes of both. Between them, there’s a dizzying range to choose from. They have slightly different growing needs, though, and their success can depend on the soil and position they’re grown in.
Which? Gardening magazine rated 16 commonly available varieties of heucheras, five tiarellas and eight heucherellas to find the best for our gardens. To discover our recommendations, subscribe online to Which? Gardening or call 029 2267 0000.
Caption: Heucheras, such as 'Pink Pearls', have beautiful foliage and often attractive flowers too
If you have heavy soil, fork in plenty of organic matter, such as garden compost, before planting.
Plant heucherella and heuchera in part shade or sun, as advised for the variety. Darker and hotter colours tend to be better in sun, while cooler and paler colours prefer shade.
Plant tiarella in dappled shade, in soil that doesn’t dry out in summer.
Caption: Plant in sun or partial shade
Water them in well, and keep watering them in dry weather until they’re fully established.
If growing in pots, use peat-free compost or add grit to peat-based compost to improve drainage.
Caption: Heucheras do well in pots
CARING FOR YOUR PLANTS
Trim away old leaves in spring before new growth appears. When plants develop woody stems over time, divide them by taking the growing ends of the stem and rooting them in small pots, or lift the whole plant and replant to the level where leaves are growing.
Caption: Cut back heucheras in spring
Cut off flower spikes when the blooms are over.
Water plants if the weather is very dry and hot, and water pot-grown plants regularly.
PEST AND DISEASES
Heuchera and heucherella are prone to rust, which is seen as small, rust-coloured pustules on the underside of leaves. Cut away all the foliage to just above the crown of the plant, and treat new leaves with a fungicide.
Caption: Cut off any leaves that are affected by rust
Vine-weevil grubs will eat the roots of plants grown in pots. Treat the compost with biological-control nematodes in spring and autumn.
Caption: Check the roots of heucheras to look for vine-weevil grubs