(Contributed) A winter hanging basket with heuchera.

Gardening: Heuchera, the ‘Queen of Winter’

Colour range of perennial has expanded exponentially past few years.

While I hate to spring any mention of winter on you, in this the first few weeks of autumn, one of your best choices for cool season colour can be found in abundance at your local garden centre.

Heuchera, which are evergreen here in coastal B.C., are a reliable perennial for reviving those tired summer planters or even sprucing up the landscape on the way to front door – which is why there is such a good selection in early autumn, particularly in the Proven Winners fall line, geared towards rejuvenating your entrance or patio containers.

The colour range of this perennial has also expanded exponentially these past few years and has broadened to include a true purple (‘Forever Purple’), eye-catching orange (‘Paprika’), pewter overlay (‘Silver Gumdrop’) and near black (PRIMO ‘Black Pearl’), which is ideal for those soon-to-appear Halloween displays.

The true colours of autumn are also well represented by this evergreen species and include ‘Cinnamon Curls’ (glossy copper-red), ‘Carnival Fall Festival’ and ‘Crème Brulee’ (blend of orange, red and tan).

Of course, this means that you can’t use that tired excuse of not being able to find the perfect colour, because whether you’re matching the pot or the paint on the front door, that elusive hue can be found in Heuchera if you look hard enough.

Even your hanging baskets can be gutted and replanted with a combination of violas or pansies, along with evergreen perennials, such as variegated sage (Salvia officinalis), bud bloomer heathers (Calluna vulgaris) and Helichrysum ‘Icicles’ or licorice plant.

Trailers such as golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) and variegated forms of English Ivy (Hedera helix) like ‘Glacier’ or ‘Yellow Ripple’ can take the place of those tired petunias or bacopa.

Evergreen grasses also look great cascading over the edge with your best choices being Acorus ‘Ogon’, Carex ‘Evergold’ or weeping brown sedge (Carex flagillifera).

The heuchera provide a pop of brilliant colour to breathe some life into these hanging basket combinations and can either be planted on the top edge or even the sidewall of a moss planter.

The most sun tolerant of these tend to be the purple or burgundy-leaved forms such as ‘Dolce Blackcurrant’ (burgundy with a silver overlay), ‘Melting Fire’ (red to maroon) and one of the first ornamental heuchera, ‘Palace Purple’.

Conversely, those varieties with bright chartreuse foliage such as ‘Lime Rickey’ (ruffled leaves), ‘Key Lime Pie’ and the new ‘Appletini’ (red flowers) tend to scorch in full sun exposures and are best used on sites with partial shade.

Those gardeners with deeper shade can turn to Heucherellas, which are a Heuchera x Tiarella hybrid with very large and often colourful foliage.

Trailing forms such as ‘Yellowstone Falls’ (lime green to gold with brown inset spotting), ‘Crimson Cascade’ (coppery-red) and ‘Redstone Falls’ (ruby red foliage) all make an impressive show in larger mixed planters.

Other more upright forms worth considering include ‘Sweet Tea’ (tan, orange, apricot), ‘Golden Zebra’ (gold inset with reddish-brown), ‘Dayglow Pink’ (green with pink flowers) and ‘Solar Eclipse’ (chartreuse with burgundy inset).

When planting heuchera in the landscape try to use them sparingly, as accents or contrasts between blocks of mass planted winter heather or blue fescue grass where they provide an effective colour break.

But no matter how you choose to use these dazzling perennials in your gardens, I think most of us will agree that the brilliant foliage and enduring nature of these evergreen perennials have earned them the title of the ‘Queen of Winter.’

Mike Lascelle is a local

nursery manager and

gardening author

(hebe_acer@hotmail.com).

Just Posted

Petition started to stop Maple Ridge road straightening project

Petition in response to proposed plan to straighten section of Fern Cres. towards Golden Ears Park.

VIDEO: One man suffers serious injuries in crash that closed Fraser Highway in Langley (updated)

One vehicle ends up in ditch after car and SUV collide, air ambulance called in

VIDEO: Drive by shooting in Langley (updated)

Truck and house damaged in attack

UPDATED: Gunfire erupts in quiet Langley neighbourhood early this morning

Police have 79A Avenue cordoned off after reports of shots just before 5 a.m.

Fire safety concerns at Anita Place Tent City

Residents sacrificing safety for warmth

Maple Ridge BC SPCA hosts pumpkin carving party

Little ones also ejoyed a costume and colouring competition at the Maple Ridge branch.

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

Flames win makes it three straight

Top Junior B teams clash in Abbotsf0rd on Saturday tonight

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Most Read