How To Grow Heucherella

Heucherella is a fairly new genus made by crossing heuchera (Coral Bells) with tiarella (Foamflower), both North American native plants. The early crosses were made using fairly bland species, but current breeding incorporates new genetics like exciting, colored-foliage heuchera and superior tiarellas with unusual cut leaves and dark centers.

The first colored-foliage heucherella appeared in 2002 with ‘Sunspot’ and has been eclipsed by the introduction of new hybrids with Heuchera villosa in their background. This cross brings more heat and humidity tolerance and larger foliage to the plant, as seen in the cultivars ‘Sweet Tea’ and ‘Alabama Sunrise.’ We now revel in a rainbow of new foliage colors and most recently, trailing forms that are finding uses as colorful groundcovers in semi-shade or in hanging baskets. Never before has a hardy groundcover been available in such a range of foliage colors.

Terra Nova Nurseries has been at the forefront of breeding these beauties while being careful to add heat and humidity tolerance to plants that have nice habits and clean flowers on short spikes. Terra Nova currently offers 22 different heucherella (the world’s largest selection) in a mixture of different habits. Reports from heat trials as brutal as the summers suffered in Tulsa, Okla., Starkville, Miss., and Dallas, Texas, have seen these plants flourish. ‘Buttered Rum’ and ‘Gold Zebra’ were standouts in the Mississippi State and Dallas Arboretum Trials in 2013.


Growing And Using Heucherella

Heucherellas are essentially shade groundcovers. Pink to creamy-white flowers are put forth from mid-spring (May here in Oregon) to early summer with intermittent bloom into fall. They are relatively drought-tolerant, but appreciate occasional watering in summer. Even a desiccated plant will surprise you by perking up soon after a watering. In fact, the best way to kill a heucherella is to overwater it or plant it in clay soil. The importance of drainage is paramount to happy plants! (This goes for heuchera and tiarella, as well).

Foliage varies greatly between cultivars, but there is a good enough selection to work with many other plants in a combination planting. Do note that the height some varieties top out at is 10 inches and some can get up to 22 inches, so pay attention to the description on the tag or in the catalog. Spread also varies from 12 inches for heucherella ‘Dayglow Pink’ to 30 inches for heucherella ‘Kimono’ (or more for the groundcovers, which can get to 36 inches across in a season). We mulch our beds yearly with a one-inch layer of bark dust; taking care that the crowns of the plants are not buried deeply (another way to kill them). They are evergreen in milder climates.

We feel that heucherellas are front- and-center border plants, excellent near pathways and amongst the ferns and woodlanders. They are equally at home in a rock garden, tolerating much more sun than you might imagine, but they do prefer afternoon shade if possible. Forms like ‘Kimono,’ ‘Alabama Sunrise’ and ‘Sweet Tea’ are large enough that they can stand alone as a specimen or fill a container independently. Flower-power plants like ‘Honey Rose’ can make quite an impact when planted in large masses.

Heucherella Culture Tips

Heucherella are wonderful plants in containers, providing the services of both a spiller and filler, while not overwhelming other varieties. Silver-leaved forms like heucherella ‘Twilight’ make a perfect foil for bright-flowered annuals. Despite being from a wide range of genetic backgrounds, the culture of these plants is fairly basic and similar.

Media: Heucherella prefers a well-drained media as drainage is absolutely essential to this genus and high-peat mixes can drown this plant.

Planting: Plant one 72-cell liner per 4-inch quart or one-gallon pot and two or three liners per pot for larger sizes. Make sure to plant the liner evenly with the final depth of soil in the pot, as these plants are quickly killed by burying the crown.

pH/EC: These plants prefer a media pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and an EC of 0.75 to 1.25 via the pour-through method.

Temperature: A 50˚F to 55˚F nighttime air temperature and a 60˚F to 65˚F daytime air temperature are ideal for heucherella. Root temperature is also very important for success with 55˚F to 60˚F being ideal. Be careful to avoid excessive root temperatures as roots can be damaged quickly during the summer, especially in black pots.

Light: Most heucherella prefer filtered light and do best under 30 to 50 percent shade, depending on location. Some of the darker-leaved varieties like ‘Twilight’ perform well in full sun if the plant is well-established and has adequate irrigation. ‘Brass Lantern,’ ‘Buttered Rum,’ ‘Cracked Ice,’ ‘Solar Eclipse’ and ‘Sweet Tea’ are clumping varieties that also do well in full sun in the trials at the Denver Botanic Garden. Trailing varieties recommended for full sun are ‘Copper Cascade’ and ‘Redstone Falls.’

Fertilizer/Watering: Supply plants with a low rate of constant liquid feed of 17-5-17 or 20-10-20 at 50 to 75 ppm nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will cause lush, soft growth that is more susceptible to disease. Keep the growing medium evenly moist during production as roots are damaged by excessively dry conditions.

If plants are allowed to wilt badly, a preventative fungicide application is advisable, as root-rot pathogens are quick to colonize damaged roots.

Pinch/PGRs: Neither pinching nor PGRs are required to grow heucherella. The trailing varieties may be cut back if they get overgrown or intertwined with their neighbors.

Pests/Disease: While rust is problematic in some heuchera, all heucherella seem to be highly resistant to the disease. However, bacterial spotting and root-rot pathogens are associated with heucherella. Avoid overhead watering to prevent bacterial spotting. The beneficial bacteria Bacillus subtilis can prevent spotting, but copper fungicides are best for cleaning up an active outbreak. Keeping the soil evenly moist and at the proper temperature will prevent most root pathogens but broad-spectrum fungicides like thiophanate-methyl and etridiazole work well for correcting problems.

Relatively few pests affect heucherella; however, root weevils can be problematic. Notched leaves on nearby plants, especially rhododendrons, yews and hosta, are signs of their presence. Chemical control of weevil grubs can be achieved with a drench of acephate or a neonicotinoid. Adult weevils can be controlled by acephate and pyrethroid sprays; however, these applications are most successful when made during the evening as the beetles are nocturnal. Nematodes can also be effective, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s irrigation instructions, as the proper application protocol is critical for success.

Some animal pests can be a problem. Deer and rabbits like eating the fresh new leaves and flowers but tend to leave the older leaves.

Scheduling: 72-cell liners work well in most containers, but 4-inch, quart and gallon sizes are most common. Growing a 72-cell to a 4-inch pot takes 4 to 6 weeks, a quart pot would take 5 to 7 weeks and a one-gallon pot would finish in 8 to 10 weeks.


Leave a Reply

One comment on “How To Grow Heucherella

  1. I’ve always found the Heucherellas to be difficult to overwinter and especially in the ground….an extremely short lived perennial best grown as an annual here in Maine. our long cold wet winters just kill them off .

More From Varieties...

October 9, 2015

New Biochemical Miticide Is Designed To Combat Varroa Mites In Beehives

EPA recently registered Potassium Salts of Hops Beta Acids (K-HBAs), which is intended to fit into a rotation program to battle resistance.

Read More
Seed Meets Technology

October 9, 2015

Seed Meets Technology Event Highlights Advancements In Vegetable And Bedding Plant Breeding

The second-annual event, held in The Netherlands in September, featured demonstrations, trial fields and presentations on green chemistries for seeds, hydroponics and phenotyping.

Read More

October 8, 2015

Industry Standards For Greenhouse Lighting On The Horizon

As the use of LEDs has risen among greenhouse growers, so have concerns about the best way to measure and compare the many LED light products across the market. As a result, the lighting industry is responding to a call for greater transparency and the development of standardized measuring and testing methods.

Read More
Latest Stories
Seed Meets Technology

October 9, 2015

Seed Meets Technology Event Highlights Advancements In …

The second-annual event, held in The Netherlands in September, featured demonstrations, trial fields and presentations on green chemistries for seeds, hydroponics and phenotyping.

Read More
Heuchera 'Red Lightning' (Terra Nova Nurseries)

October 6, 2015

14 New Perennials For Containers, Pollinators, Beds And…

With an abundance of blooms and textures, new fuss-free perennials add interest to the garden year after year. Here are 14 perennials new for 2016 to consider for your growing operation.

Read More

October 2, 2015

N.G. Heimos And Dan Schantz Poinsettia Trials Planned F…

Two poinsettia trial open houses are planned for November that showcase hundreds of varieties from top poinsettia breeders. Dan Schantz Farm & Greenhouses will hold an open house on November 12, and N.G. Heimos Greenhouses will hold its open house on November 19.

Read More
Bidens 'Cupcake Strawberry' (Plant Haven International)

September 26, 2015

5 Greenhouse Variety Updates You Need To Know About

There’s a lot of variety news to share from around the industry that has come in over the last few months, much of it centered on spring 2016. Here are five variety updates from breeders across the country.

Read More
Feature Image - Tropical Hibiscus

September 18, 2015

How To Grow Tropical Hibiscus

With their bright blooms and hot colors, tropical Hibiscus are popular blooming potted plants for outdoor living spaces and even indoor decór in wintry months. Here’s how to grow them successfully.

Read More

September 18, 2015

Grimes Horticulture And Seeds By Design Form Partnershi…

The new alliance will allow the two companies to take advantage of each of their strengths in breeding and marketing of new vegetable varieties for greenhouse growers and farm marketers.

Read More
More and more people are employing a landscape service, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still garden

September 2, 2015

Under Siege? Not Really, Just Go For A Walk

I have no trouble with people buying chocolates or wine instead of flowers to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or peoples’ lives. We should all have choices. However, the other night I felt like I was entering the Republican caucus. I was minding my own business by the television set and became more than a little upset. A website called came on the screen. It provided serene music and wholesome images of busy women doing busy things. It turns out that such busy women enjoy a small token of appreciation, but apparently their enjoyment, according to the voice-over, does not include flowers. This website delivers meals to the house, anything from beef brisket to beef bourguignon. It is a fine website with a good idea. But why pick on us? Why not use “” or “,” “,” or a dozen other things. When did flowers get to be the whipping boy? […]

Read More
Feature image The 2015 Perennial Plant Of The Year, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’

September 1, 2015

Perennial Plant Association’s 33rd Annual Symposi…

The Perennial Plant Association's 33rd Annual Symposium, held July 27 to August 1 in Baltimore, Md., delved into the rich history of perennial suppliers and landscape architects in the Baltimore area and their influence on the perennial market today and its bright future.

Read More

August 18, 2015

Farwest Show New Varieties Showcase Will Spotlight 2016…

Featuring a spectrum of new market introductions, the 2015 Farwest Show, August 27-29 in Portland, Ore., will display 49 plants in the New Varieties Showcase, a mainstay favorite every year on the show floor. Seventeen companies from all corners of North America, the Netherlands and Canada have submitted material that covers the best and brightest of perennials, shrubs, conifers, shade and flowering trees and edibles being introduced for 2016. This year’s entries will display the prized characteristics that growers and retailers are seeking— new features, improved performance in production environments and landscape, compact sizes, enhanced disease resistance, performance in urban settings and drought tolerance. In particular for garden retail benefit, consumer appeal for this year’s showcase is excellent with choices for spectacular foliage, blooms, seasonal interest and overall wow factor. Check out the slideshow for a sampling of the new varieties. Plants are creatively displayed in retail fashion and well tagged with full descriptions, compliments of showcase […]

Read More

August 17, 2015

21 New Blooming Potted Plants For Trouble-Free Greenhou…

Blooming potted plants brighten up almost any occasion. With new colors and an abundance of blooms, these 21 new introductions add a unique, finishing touch to even the most diversified crop mix. Here are 21 new varieties available in 2015 that will hit retail in 2016.

Read More

August 4, 2015

New 2015 California Spring Trial Edibles For The Patio …

If you are looking to capitalize on the foodie trend and spread your risk beyond Spring sales, new vegetables showcased at 2015 California Spring Trials offer plenty of opportunities to focus on unique, flavorful vegetables and edible plants that also hold ornamental value. Here are a few of new varieties Editor Laura Drotleff and Group Editor Carol Miller discovered at Spring Trials that will help diversify your crop mix.

Read More
llan Armitage Syngenta Starcluster

July 30, 2015

Allan Armitage: Let’s Talk About Starflowers. Why Is Pe…

It is good to talk about production techniques, performance results and then to see how our friends garden. Diversity of plant material has always been a strength in American garden centers, and we should never run out of plants to get people excited. However, perhaps people are tired of Petunias or Callas or Geraniums, but we will never run out of options to put in front of them. One plant that is often overlooked is Pentas, a fabulous summer crop for late spring sales. These are heat-tolerant plants, and growing them below 65°F in the greenhouse results in significant delay. Fertility should be at least 150ppm nitrogen, but avoid ammonia in the fertilizer. Plants are best grown at a somewhat higher pH than usual, between 6.4 to 6.8. For best presentation, pinch out the center bud. Side flowers will bloom together, and plants will walk off the shelf. Garden centers […]

Read More
Bunching onion warrior

July 27, 2015

All-America Selections Introduces First AAS Winners For…

All-America Selections announced another group of edible AAS Winners for home gardeners, gourmet gardeners, farm-to-table growers, market growers and anyone interested in a unique, delicious addition to their vegetable assortment. These three winners are the first for the 2016 Garden Season. Additional winners will be announced this fall and winter as the 2015 trials conclude and the breeders meet specified criteria. The first group of AAS Winners for 2016 includes: Bunching Onion ‘Warrior’ (Regional Winner) Mizuna ‘Red Kingdom’ F1 (National Winner) Radish ‘Sweet Baby’ F1 (Regional Winner) All-America Selections has had bulb onions as award winners in the past, but ‘Warrior’ is the first bunching (or green) onion. Similarly, there have been green mustard AAS Winners, but never a red Mizuna (or Japanese Mustard). ‘Sweet Baby’ radish joins nine other radishes that are previous AAS Winners adding a violet colored beauty to an assortment of radishes that range from white […]

Read More

July 21, 2015

Costa Farms Trial Garden Update: 2015 Late-Season Top-P…

The Costa Farms team announced its late-season top performers in the 2015 Season Premier Trial Garden in Miami, Fla. Its research and development team has been working to grow and evaluate hundreds of varieties and have published their findings here. The plants you’ll find in the link have thrived in Miami’s late-spring conditions. Every spring, the research and development team trials 500 varieties of annuals, perennials and tropical plants from plant breeders around the world. All of the varieties were tested in the 2-acre trial garden. Varieties are assessed for abundance of bloom, crop uniformity and overall performance, which includes factors such as clean foliage, little to no pest damage and the plants’ overall habits and appearances. About 70 varieties scored as top performers during the evaluation period, which lasted from week five to week 19. Transplanting into the trial garden occurred at week 51, and plants were grown in 6-inch pots to finished […]

Read More

July 20, 2015

Cornell Floriculture Field Day To Take Place August 11

Cornell’s Floriculture Field Day will be Tuesday August 11 at the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y. An alumni event will be held the evening prior. More information and online registration for both events is available online. Here is some of what will be happening during Cornell’s Floriculture Field Day: 1. New Cornell Alumni and Friends reception. Come to Ithaca, N.Y an evening early for the 2015 alumni and friends event at the Cornell Plantations visitor center. The event, which will be Aug. 10, 5:30-7 p.m., will feature appetizers, New York wine and jazz. It will take place at the Nevin Welcome Center. 2. Armitage and Konjoian kick off the morning program. During the morning program at the Cornell Veterinary School, Allan Armitage, professor emeritus, University of Georgia, will talk about some of his favorite annuals, perennials and veggies for the landscape. Peter Konjoian, of Konjoian’s Floriculture Education Services, will inspire you to […]

Read More

July 15, 2015

Greenhouse Grower Honors 2015 Medal Of Excellence Breed…

Greenhouse Grower announced its Medal of Excellence winners at the Evening of Excellence, held Monday, July 13 at Cultivate’15  in Columbus, Ohio. The Readers’ Choice Award was presented to Terra Nova Nurseries for Leucanthemum ‘Luna,’ the Industry’s Choice Award went to Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ from Sakata Seed and the Editor’s Choice Award was given to Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ from EuroAmerican Propagators Read on to learn more about the varieties that were finalists for the Medal Of Excellence Editor’s Choice, Industry’s Choice and Readers’ Choice Breeding Awards. Thank you to the 2015 sponsors of Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence Awards, Landmark Plastic, Nufarm and Stockosorb. Editor’s Choice Asclepias ‘Monarch Promise’ (Hort Couture) Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ (Sakata Seed) Dianthus Jolt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Salvia Grandstand Series (Green Fuse Botanicals) Scabiosa ‘Kudos Pink’ (Hishtil Nurseries) Industry’s Choice Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Bidens BeeDance Series (Suntory Flowers) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ […]

Read More
Pleasant View Gardens Open House

July 8, 2015

This Summer’s Can’t Miss Tours And Events

July and August are packed with events, from greenhouse tours and seminars, to the new Summer Vegetable Trials in California. Check out the list of events for dates and times, as well as information on how to plan your visit. Bailey Nurseries Bailey Nurseries will hold its Minnesota Expo 2015, a jam-packed event showcasing its farm and plants, on July 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in St. Paul, Minn. In addition to farm tours, participants can enjoy new varieties, hot picks and merchandising displays, as well as attend various seminars throughout the day. A continental breakfast and lunch will be served during the event. Visit the Bailey Nurseries website for the complete schedule and to register online, or contact Sue Gundersen at or 651-768-3372 for more information. Ball Seed Field Day & Landscape Day Ball Seed’s Field Day & Landscape Day will take place July 31, at 8 a.m. in West […]

Read More

July 8, 2015

The Kientzler Group Is Honored For Industry Achievement

Kientzler is one of the world’s most prolific and innovative breeding powerhouses. It has built on its rich history by providing new and exciting genetics to the floriculture industry, with the creation of the market for New Guinea Impatiens with its Paradise and Pure Beauty series, as well as bringing Scaevola, Bracteantha, Sutera and other plant genetics to the marketplace, introduced in the U.S. through the Proven Winners network. Through its Innovaplant facilities in Costa Rica, Kientzler has also become well-known for establishing high standards for quality and cleanliness, and providing a dependable supply of young plants to growers in the U.S. for more than 20 years. With the company’s new business direction starting this past winter, providing its own genetics directly to the U.S. market, 2015 is a great year to honor Kientzler’s past accomplishments and celebrate its new horizons.     Building On A Legacy Of Greatness Kientzler […]

Read More