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This Heuchera’s got Diversifolia

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"Purple" Heuchera, Golden Strawberry & Potted Corokia

“Purple” Heuchera, Golden Strawberry & Potted Corokia

Growing Heuchera in sun or shade is possible.

If you’re trying to grow Heuchera in sun or shade, shop carefully. That’s because not all coral bells will perform equally well in just any exposure. Some do better in sun. And, others do better in some shade. But, there are some Heuchera that will grow beautifully both in sun or in shade.

For instance, consider good old Palace Purple Heuchera.

  • This common Heuchera’s full name is Heuchera micrantha var. Diversifolia ‘Palace Purple’.
  • And it may be the original purple Heuchera
  • In fact it was rated as the 1991 Perennial of the Year.
  • That’s probably because it is a consistent workhorse in the garden.
  • But, it may seem a little old fashioned to who seek all the new Heuchera’s being bred each year.
  • But, this old coral bells cultivar is one to rely on.
  • That’s because, it takes root readily.
  • And, it weathers rough winters.
  • Plus, it bounces back from cutworm attacks (if you groom it).
  • It works well in containers or garden beds.
  • Too, it looks lovely for most of the growing season.
  • And, this is a Heuchera to grow in sun and in shade!

In fact, many of the newer cultivars out there can’t even come close to this kind of reliability.

But, this plant’s name reveals a lot about it: diversifolia.

  • Diversi – Diverse; differing + folia = Foliage
  • So if you look up this Heuchera online or shop for it at a nursery, you’ll find a lot of variation in the ‘Palace Purple’ cultivar.
  • Likely, some plants have more pointed lobes.
  • And, they may have almost a reddish-orange tone.
  • But, others have rounded lobes with deep blackish-purple coloration.
  • However, in a true cultivated variety there should be no cross-pollinated genetic diversity going on.
  • And, if you don’t know what that means, join our online Academy, and we’ll teach you all about cultivated plant variability and more.
  • But, basically, these plants should all look and grow the same in sun and in shade.
  • Still, this isn’t quite what happens with Heuchera m. var. Diversifolia ‘Palace Purple’.

Check out the same Heuchera in sun or shade.

To grow Heuchera in Sun or Shade

  • In these images the diversity is easy to see.
  • And, this is what happens when the same coral bell plants are installed in differing sunlight.
  • Notice the two Heuchera flanking the wood chip path.
  • To the left of the path, in a location with lots of hot, reflected all-day sun, the plants appear more orange.
  • To the right of the path, just inches away from the other planting, in a location with very little sunlight at all, the plants appear much more deeply purple.
  • Surprisingly, in deeper shade, they don’t take on green tones at all.

So what’s the overall lesson here?

  • In addition to checking your cultivars carefully at the nursery at the time of purchase, keep in mind that where you place your selections may impact how they actually look in your garden.
  • And even if you try, like I did here, to create some symmetry and repetition in the garden, a tiny bit of environmental change from bed to bed can produce results that don’t quite live up to your expectations.
  • Fortunately, with easily divided perennials like this one, you can dig’m up and move them around to break up any crazy-quilt nature may have stitched across your garden beds.

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