By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Ah, campers, frost is on the proverbial pumpkin. Before leaf collection is on the agenda, we should look at our
denuded containers and add a little fire to warm our hearts. Heuchera come in so many colors (you’re
welcome) that it can be a minor challenge to sort out the varieties. Know that Heuchera offered by Terra Nova
comes under series names. If you select one from the “City” series, you will get a plant with
attractive foliage that blooms nearly continuously. ‘Rio’ is one from this series. “Northern
Exposure™” gives heat and extreme cold hardiness, and some are “standalone” with
outstanding characteristics in foliage and/or flower, like ‘Champagne’.
The three that Dan has selected all work exceptionally well with the fall color palette, and all have a warm,
glowing aspect, to be shining lights in the cold of November. Paired with mums, pumpkins, or kale, this trio can
be a genial welcome to the home, replacing the now frozen and discarded annuals from your containers. Violettas,
the smaller (more blooming) pansies or violas can be a lovely foil with complementary flowers and frost
hardiness. Remember that your soil will most likely be depleted and could use a few cups of manure worked into
the top six inches to get your plants off to a great start. Let’s have a look!
This is a stunning plant with medium-sized leaves shifting from warm peach to gold to
champagne-gold with a strong white veil overall. Free-flowering maroon stems with light peach
flowers most of the season. Hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4-9 and can bloom from May till October! In full
sun it can grow to 14 inches tall and 14 inches wide while in flower. Like all Heuchera, it prefers good
drainage and even moisture in its first year. Use in containers or front to middle of the border. It loves the
morning sun and can take some shade as well.
Bigger and brighter than 'Fire Chief' or 'Autumn Leaves', 'Fire Alarm' is bright red in spring and fall
and darkens to a bright brown red during the summer. This hybrid of H.
villosa (heat and humidity tolerance) has thick, leathery red, red leaves that make a delightful,
medium-sized mound. 'Fire Alarm' complements almost every section of the color palette, but it can stand on its
own without question. Won the Silver medal at Plantarium 2014 and best Heuchera in the shade in Ohio State
trials, 2012. Attractive white flowers come out in late summer to fall on medium spikes. Hardy in zones 5-9 and
can bloom from June through August! In full sun it can grow to 14 inches tall and 13 inches wide while in
flower. Heucheras prefer good drainage and even moisture in their first year. Use in containers or front to
of the border.
A multicolored plant named for a vibrant city. Leaves open peach-amber, change to amber, then to tan, and
finally to yellow-amber. Lovely every season. Beautiful, short maroon flower spikes with white
flowers. A large and vigorous plant that is a great garden performer and a container star. Hardy in zones 4-9
and can bloom with pink flowers from May till October! In full sun it can grow to 9 inches tall and 14 inches
wide and tall while in flower. Like all Heuchs, it prefers good drainage and even moisture in its first year.
That’s why they do grow so well in containers. Avoid clay soils at all costs. Use in containers or front
of the border. ‘Rio’ can take full sun but prefers morning sun and some shade in the afternoon.
Dan Heims is an award-winning author who lectures throughout the world. He was recently honored by The American
Horticultural Society with the Luther Burbank Breeding Award, as well as the Perennial Plant Association’s
Award of Merit. He was also honored in receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for
advancements in breeding.