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Heucheras Print E-mail

Plant names can be a challenge, there are common names and botanical names, which come with genus names and species names. Trying to figure which name to use can create confusion. Common names are often regional and the same name can apply to many different plants. For example, if someone asks for red maple, do they mean our native Acer rubrum (which actually is the true red maple) or a Japanese Maple with red foliage or even a Norway maple with foliage thats red?

That's why botanical names are so important, they refer to a specific plant species. Unfortunetly botanical names often are hard to pronounce, try to pronounce Metasequoia, Anemenopsis, or even Clematis. Our customers often ask how do you pronounce Heuchera? Is it Heuchera or hoochaira? We love this question because we can pause for effect and then very politely and slowly say, "Here at O'Brien's, we like to call them...coralbells!"

We are quite amazed at the great diversity in coralbells that have developed in the last twenty years. They now come in many different foliage colors. The breeders are also working to increase the floral display. Although they are often recommended for partial shade we find that they grow better with full sun, another important aspect of their culture is to provide them with good drainage. This can be accomplished by mounding the plant up a little when planting.


                                    Heuchera villosa 'Brownies'

One of our favorite coralbells is Heuchera 'Georgia Peach' which has unique peach colored foliage. I remember a few years ago visiting a customers home in late February, and being drawn across the yard by an interesting plant, as I got closer I realized it was Georgia Peach coralbells. All winter long the color of the foliage shines through.

When you wander around our display gardens you will see many heucheras planted. In our sales yard, it is fun to see the rainbow of coralbell colors all grouped together under our katsura tree (which has a botanical name of Cercidiphyllum japonicum).