Perry's Perennial Pages

Heuchera 'Harmonic Convergence'

    Perennial of the Month-- June 2001

(hue' ker-ah)

Common name: Coral Bells, Alum Root, Crimson Bells

Family: Saxifragaceae, Saxifrage

Height x width:18-24" tall x 12" wide

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: basal and evergreen, reniform to ovate or orbicular, 1"-3" wide; lobed margins; often pubescent on hairy petioles, silver and bronze "converging" or marbled

Flowers: ¼-½" long bell-shaped, pink fringed, in cymose panicles on stems 18-24" tall, naked stems (no stem leaves); early to mid summer

Hardiness: zones 4-8, AHS heat zones 8-2

Soil: well-drained, organic

Light: part shade, tolerates sun in north if sufficient moisture

Pests and problems: leaf spots, powdery mildew, leaf and stem smut, stem rot, strawberry root weevil, mealybug, foliar nematode

Landscape habit, uses: woodland and shade gardens or borders, massed, cut flowers, bees

Other interest: named for an 18th century German botanist J.H. von Heucher; similar to Tiarella only with 5 stamens in flowers rather than 10 for the latter, and showy parts usually sepals not petals as in latter; some intergeneric hybrids under x Heucherella; much breeding among this genus especially recently; this recent cultivar from Charles Oliver of Scottdale, PA and noteworthy for its foliage and nice flowers; try combining with foamflowers in part shade, in sun with blue fescues or Silver Mound, and with ornamental strawberries in either

Other culture: plants easily frost heave as they are shallow-rooted, to avoid plant crowns 1" below soil surface and mulcha around plants but leave crowns uncovered; where frost heaving is not a problem, plant slightly above the soil surface to prevent rots; remove spend flower stalks for prolonged bloom and aesthetics; avoid heavy clay soils or soils with very acidic pH; many related cultivars perform better in the north than the south, being intolerant of excessive heat and humidity

Propagation: division when plant center becomes woody (every 3 years or so), leaf cuttings in late fall of leaves and short petiole segment in sand, seeds (500,000 seeds per ounce) sown in spring for following year flowering, tissue culture (mainly of new varieties)

Sources:  Blooms of Bressingham retailers



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