Heuchera ‘Raspberry Ice’ (coral bells) not only have fantastic leaf colour, but they have beautiful, long lasting flowers. Many Heuchera are planted for their great foliage, but this one combines showy blooms that last from July to the frost, together with decorative green and purple leaves that have a silver cast. These perennials are fabulous for the shade, and give a long season of interest with their evergreen leaves.
I’m adding some more ‘Raspberry Ice’ to a group in my front garden. You can see the extension I’ve dug in the picture above. I am removing the grass between the trees and gradually expanding this garden. It is underneath a spruce, so the plants have to enjoy the shade, and not be too needy about water. The ‘Raspberry Ice’ plants look great against the background of green needles, tolerate the shade, and don’t seem to mind the root competition with the trees. I do give this section some extra water, so they don’t have to go up against the spruce entirely on their own. There are already 3 plants here from 2 years ago, and since they work so well, I picked up some more at an end of season sale. There were only 2 ‘Raspberry Ice’ left, or I would have expanded the Heuchera grouping even more.
You can see the leaf colour of the ‘Raspberry Ice’ that have been here for 2 summers. They have started developing many of their fall shades, because of the recent cool evenings, like many Heuchera do. The leaves are green with a silver overlay, have dark coloured contrasting veins, and an underside of flashy purple or red. Depending on the temperature and season, they develop shades of purple, red or burgundy on their top sides, too. The contrasting colour along the leaf veins of these coral bells makes beautifully ornamental designs.
Next to this ladybug, the ‘Raspberry Ice’ leaves don’t look so red anymore. You notice the silvery green background, and the dark patterns along the veins. I really appreciate the symmetrical patterns that the vein markings make in coral bells, like little stained glass works of art. Though the ladybug might be more of an aphid connoisseur than art connoisseur.
Here are the 2 new ‘Raspberry Ice’ plants in front of the established ones. The mature plants are about 30 cm tall (a foot) and around 50 cm across (just about 2 ft). The new perennials should fill in quite well by next summer, and eventually make a solid clump of dazzling leaves. Because of the wide leaves, they make a good groundcover. The new Heuchera have slightly different shades now, but by next year they should be in sync with their colour changes. At the back of the picture, you can see a few of the light green Tiarella ‘Jeepers Creepers’.
Here is a closeup of a pretty H. ‘Raspberry Ice’ flower. The flowers are about 50 cm (20 in tall). They are a bright pink, to match all of the bright leaf colours. The blooms are much thicker and more noticeable than some Heuchera flowers. These foliage plants are worth planting for the blooms alone.
This picture shows the site under the conifer, and also how low some of the spruce branches are. It looks like the spruce brought out the competitive side of the Heuchera bloom.
In the photo above, you can see the vivid purplish red stems clearly. These Heuchera will keep sending up flower spikes through fall. Here is a shot from last year, showing a flower bud still forming in October, after the plant had been in my garden since the previous year. Go for it optimistic Heuchera! (There’s no such thing as frost or winter…) Unfortunately this year, I accidentally dragged a power cord over the plants, knocking most of the flowers off this group. (…but there are such things as careless gardeners.) My other group of ‘Raspberry Ice’ in the back garden still has a number of blooms. I’m not sure why theses get labelled as only blooming in spring.
”Raspberry Ice’ is my favourite of the purple leafed Heuchera. It combines flashy foliage with season-long, showy flowers into one package. The leaves persist through the frost, which makes them valuable for garden colour in zone 3. When the snow melts in early spring, the colourful leaves will brighten the garden, while the more timid perennials are still underground. Over the last years I’ve been adding more and more plants with evergreen leaves to extend the garden season as long as possible. Heuchera are a choice foliage perennial to keep your garden from looking bare at the beginning and end of the season, and ‘Raspberry Ice’ adds very pretty pink flowers to those leaves.