Some plants just make us look like great gardeners by being both beautiful and easy to grow. Heuchera is one such choice and now is the time to find the best selection in our autumn planter section at Amsterdam Garden Centre.
As a general rule the paler gold-leaved to peach-coloured cultivars do better in open shade to partial sun, while the darker red to purple varieties keep their colour best with some full sun, but beyond that Heuchera require very little care beyond removing spent flower stalks and older leaves.
With foliage ranging from chartreuse to metallic silver and even rich true purples, it can be difficult to choose just one. So, to help you out this fall planter season, I’ve chosen 10 foolproof combinations for you to select from, each of which exemplifies the best use of colour contrast.
1. Heuchera ‘Key Lime Pie’ & Sedum ‘Blue Cushion’
What grows on the edge of your autumn planters is just as important as the centrepiece and nothing pops the dusty-blue foliage of Sedum ‘Blue Cushion’ better than the bright lime-green foliage (with a subtle silver overlay) of Heuchera ‘Key Lime Pie’. A partial sun exposure would be important here, as too much heat will scorch the heuchera, while too little sun will cause the sedum to decline.
2. Heuchera ‘Cherry Truffles’ & Coleus ‘Vulcan’
This sun-tolerant coleus will thrive until the frosts roll in, so it seems a shame to waste it. Instead, consider removing the faded summer flowers around it and pair it up with the ruffled mahogany-red foliage of Heuchera ‘Cherry Truffles’, as the thin gold margins of Coleus ‘Vulcan’ etch a firm contrast between the two.
3. Heuchera ‘Dolce Wildberry’ & Carex ‘Evergold’
This perfect pairing of two bullet-proof perennials is bound to please any plant critic. The deep plum-purple foliage with darker veining of Heuchera ‘Dolce Wildberry’ is the perfect backdrop for the inset gold variegation of this evergreen sedge. As a side-to-side feature in any fall-to-winter planter, both of these will hold up well.
4. Heuchera ‘Cinnamon Curls’ & Helichrysum ‘Icicles’
Licorice plant or Helichrysum ‘Icicles’ makes a great centrepiece in smaller containers, but they need to be set off with darker colours in order to appreciate the fine, linear silver foliage. The coppery-orange to reddish autumn tones of Heuchera ‘Cinnamon Curls’ is the perfect background, as it accentuates the form of the Licorice plant and suits the seasonal hue.
5. Heuchera ‘Crème Brulee’ & Salvia ‘Black & Blue’
I often get requests for this Salvia earlier in the season but it seems that fall is the best time to find it. While a bit tender (zone 7), the eye-popping electric blue flowers emerging from black buds of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black & Blue’ are a hummingbird favourite and it does overwinter with very sharp soil drainage. Pair it with the peachy-orange to amber foliage of Heuchera ‘Crème Brulee’ for a startling display.
6. Heuchera ‘Primo Black Pearl’ & Euphorbia ‘Glacier Blue’
The darker Heuchera are often overlooked as being too drab, but when accented with silver or paler hues, it instantly becomes a worthy container specimen. Here we are using the cream and silvery-blue foliage of Euphorbia ‘Glacier Blue’ to provide the necessary pop for the glossy near-black leaves of Heuchera ‘Primo Black Pearl’.
7. Heuchera ‘Dolce Apple Twist’ & Chrysanthemum ‘Ditto Dark Orange’
I’ll admit that fall mums can be a bit fleeting in their flower display, but that’s all the more reason to make them pop as soon as they open. The chartreuse to apple-green ruffled leaves of Heuchera ‘Dolce Apple Twist’ are a great way to make sure that the bright orange blooms of Chrysanthemum ‘Ditto Dark Orange’ take centre stage and you don’t have to worry about the sun needs of the latter, as it is considered ephemeral.
8. Heuchera ‘Silver Gumdrop’ & Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’
Perhaps this Heuchera has the most metallic leaves of any Coral Bell, but the iridescent foliage can be a difficult pairing. An easy solution for this would be the addition of Salvia ‘Icterina’, an edible sage (think turkey stuffing) with attractive golden-yellow margins that surprisingly look great with this Heuchera.
9. Heuchera ‘Primo Wild Rose’ & Calluna vulgaris ‘Barcelona’
Both these plants stand out on their own, but when combined something magical happens. Calluna vulgaris ‘Barcelona’ is a member of the Skyline Series and features very upright golden foliage that is nicely highlighted by the rosy-purple leaves of this durable Heuchera. It is as close to a perfect fall plant combination that one can find!
10. Heuchera ‘Primo Peachberry Ice’ & Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’
Personally, I think everything looks good next to my current favourite Heuchera, ‘Primo Peachberry Ice’. Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ does a pretty good job and will only get better as the months pass, as the green-variegated-gold foliage will take on red highlights as the weather gets colder.
Well, this ends my suggested autumn planter pairings but if I could leave you with one last piece of advice, it would be to not wait too long as the Heuchera tend to sell out very quickly.