Need reliable purple and chartreuse varieties.

linnea56(z5 IL)June 3, 2012

I am going to an out of state nursery on my way back from a trip in a week. I want to replace some heuchera that have died (or are about to), and I'd like recommendations for truly bulletproof varieties in two colors: something purple/burgundy and something yellow green. I have a shade bed that is all about foliage color contrast: and the ones that have died have really left a hole in my color scheme, as well as a hole in the ground.

Need tried and true, not the latest novelty, but not Palace Purple either.

Plum Pudding is available everywhere, but I can't keep that one alive.


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Knock on wood, my Blackouts are doing very well, despite being moved several times. They aren't a true purple, but read close enough in the garden.

Yesterday, I purchased Crimson Curls (a very nice, fancy purple) and Dolce Key Lime Pie. The KLPs seem a bit weak, but I'm hoping they firm up in the garden. They are a lovely chartruese, no dark veining as of yet.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 6:12AM
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I grow four varieties of the chartreuse:
Lime Rickey
Dolce Key Lime Pie

as well as several golds:
Amber Waves
Ginger Ale

By far the hardiest of the chartreuse group IMHO( in this garden) is Pistache. Citronelle leaves burn if they get a tad too much sun. Dolce Key Lime Pie is sometimes wimpy ( I've lost a few of them)etc. Caramel and Amber Waves do very well in that color range.
Purples- I like Obsidian -its a black purple, along with Amethyst Myst.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:10AM
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sharoncl(z5 WI)

I don't have a lot of the purple coral bells... (I hadn't realized, until I considered your question, that I tend to gravitate toward the peach/ginger heuchera.) But some of the very dark purples that have been strong performers for me are obsidian and midnight rose.

In my garden, the most reliable of the chartreuse heuchera has been lime marmalade. He's a good sized clump this year--24" across and 15" tall--and that's after I removed several starts from the crown earlier this spring to start new plants.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:26AM
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ConnieMay(6a - Canada)

Frosted Violet is very purple and large / strong and likes shade. New garden visitors always comment on this one.

Stormy Seas is purple brown, very strong and can take a lot of sun.

Beaujolais is more of a wine colour and again large / strong. This one looks really good next to caramel as the rose colour on the underside and leaf centers of caramel pick up the colour in beaujolais.

Connie May

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 1:26PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks! I am growing 4 Obsidian in full sun, and they look great. I have been very impressed. But since they are doing SO well, in full sun, I figure they might not do as well in the shady bed where I need more purples. Does anyone know?

I think I would like something of a richer purple, too. In the shady spot I need to fill I think Obsidian would look too black. So maybe Amethyst Myst and Frosted Violet are good choices.

I bought a half a dozen Dolce's a few years back: only one is still alive (a Key Lime Pie). And the others died FAST. So I'm not going to buy anything with that prefix.

I've read (somewhere on here) that varieties with villosa genes are hardier. But I don�t know how to tell which ones do.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Oops, sorry, I got Beaujolis mixed up with Kassandra. Kassandra is the one that more in the gold family. I love MIDNIGHT ROSE but ( although there are still two here) it hasn't been overly hardy for me.
Not sure you'd consider Midnight Claret in the purple family but it has been very hardy here.
( Quilter's Joy on left, Midnight Claret on right)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 5:51PM
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I was going to suggest Amethyst Myst too. I also have a BIG purple heuchera in full shade, but no idea what it is!

Villosa are the hardiest, yep. As for the chartreuse ones, the last I bought was Citronelle which burns a bit for me in part shade. I assume anything newer than Citronelle in the Villosa/chartreuse family would be even hardier.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:39PM
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There are new lime and chartreuse varieties suitable for the north - 'Apple crisp' and 'Pear Crisp'. Both look lovely.

I am a little puzzled why you guys are thinking that villosa Heucheras are more hardy. While villosa parentage adds overall vigor to Heucheras, it is more suitable for heat and humidity, not for very cold temperatures. Take a look at the map of different Heuchera species in the Heuchera section of Terra Nova catalog (thanks Buyorsell!). You will see that villosa is native on the East and on the South of US and hence performs better in similar conditions.

BTW, the table with Heucheras in this catalog is really helpful. Also, all Heuchera pictures are marked with abbreviated symbols for usage. Really cool. I finally found a couple of RUFFLED varieties without H.micrantha in the parentage, so they would work for our hot and humid climate.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 4:11PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

alina, villosa may be breed for heat but they also are tough enough to take a dry hot Northern Summer so it makes them stronger to handle the cold and brutal weather also in my gardens. This is my 8 years experience. Also........

I recommend Villosa because of a online nursery owner recommended them because it is what they said survive their Michigan winters and it was recommended to me from my local nursery.

I generally do not buy Terra Nova until they have been out for awhile because they seem to be developing them and not fully tested for viability outside of the greenhouse. JMO

I did a co-op of Terra Nova Heuchera and had very little survival, purchased many of the new ones at my local nursery and had a low survival rate. That has been my experience.

linnea56 there is a list of the villosa that many of us have tried in one of the post last month. Let me see if I can find it. I know I listed the ones that have survived good in my gardens.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:51PM
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H.villosa was not breed. It is not a hybrid. It is a species plant:

USA: AL , AR , GA , IN , KY , MD , MO , MS , NC , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: VA to IN, s. to AL & AR
Native Habitat: Moist, shaded rock ledges & cliffs
USDA Native Status: L48(Native to the continental United States )

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:06AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Check out Primrose Path Nursery. You do not have to buy from them but at least when you see the ones that Primrose Path has created you know they have been tested under the cold, snow, conditions. That is GARDEN TESTED. I do not have any connection to them but I know they are developing plants that survive.

The other thing you can look for is if they say it is a Villosa. I have good luck with those.

Also found this post.

Posted by buyorsell888 Zone 8 Portland OR (My Page) on
Thu, May 24, 12 at 18:18

I just happen to have Dan Heim's book handy. These were all listed as Huechera villosa cultivars:

H. v. 'Autumn Bride', 'Biddulph Brown', 'Chantilly', 'Creme de la Creme', 'Discolor', 'Emperor's Cloak', 'Melkweg', f.purpurea 'Bronze Wave', f.p. 'Palace Purple', f.p. 'Royal Red'

Here is a link that might be useful: Primrose Path

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 6:41PM
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