Here are two new Heuchera (coral bells) that I’ve added to my garden this fall. Both ‘Peppermint Spice’ and ‘Havana’ have larger and more attractive flowers than some of my other foliage Heuchera.
Heuchera ‘Havana’ and Heuchera ‘Peppermint Spice’ are both suited to the shade. Most Heuchera don’t mind low light conditions, but some of the newer crosses have been selected more for sun tolerance. Since I have lots of shade, and don’t get excessive heat in my northern garden, I look for ones that do well in a shady location.
Here’s a closeup of Heuchera ‘Havana’ still in its pot before planting. For an extra flash of colour, the stems are a deep purplish red. The flowers will be a dark pink, almost red, color, but my three new ones won’t have any blooms until next year. Some coral bells have very small flowers on overly long stems, but ‘Havana’ have many bells arranged along a number of proportionate stems to make a more impressive display. These dense and attractive flowers on ‘Havana’ will rebloom as well, so it has more than just good looking leaves going for it.
Heuchera ‘Havana’ has very light, yellowish green foliage, with a hint of silver. At times it has more yellow in the leaves. The leaf veins are an apple green colour. That lighter colour is especially noticeable in the shadows under the trees. There are small flashes of red and purple underneath some ‘Havana’ leaves now. The leaf colour of Heucheras can vary as the temperature drops, and even as moisture levels change. In early spring and late fall mine develop more red and purple tones.
Here is ‘Havana’ planted in the shade, beneath the boughs of my spruce. It’s recommended for very shady sites, or only a few hours of morning light, so I think it has the perfect location. You can see the darker shadows here, and how the leaves reflect the light that makes it under the tree, so the plants show up well. Next summer I’ll see how many flowers they produce in this section of the garden.
This photo was taken before our recent deeper frosts. By the time I planted the Heuchera ‘Peppermint Spice’ and reached for my camera, a ladybug had already settled in on the leaves. These insects were my constant companions while gardening this fall.
‘Peppermint Spice’ has green leaves with a faint silver overlay, and a darker brownish purple contrasting colour spreads in patterns along the leaf veins. The leaves are similar to my ‘Mint Frost’ or ‘Green Spice’, but the flowers are supposed to be nicer than either of those. The bright pink blooms of this cross are larger and more noticeable, which they get from their Heuchera sanguinea heritage. I’ll see how many flowers they get in a shady location next year.
The Heuchera ‘Peppermint Spice’ will get an hour or so of early morning light, and then indirect and dappled light for the rest of the day. Since ”Peppermint Spice’ is best in part shade to shade, they should do well here. The foliage behind the flowers is from a tall Actaea simplex. The conspicuous flowers of ‘Peppermint Spice’ should show up well against the green background.
This garden section is backed by Actaea simplex ‘Atropurpurea’ (bugbane). I planted the ‘Peppermint Spice’ in front between groups of Tiarella ‘Sugar and Spice’ (foamflower) and Heucherella ‘Tapestry’ (foamy bells), both of which have evergreen leaves, too. There are also pretty little Campanula (bellflowers) planted here, some C. poscharskyana (Serbian bellflower), and C. cochlearifolia (fairy thimble bellflower). Next to the Actaea are some Osmunda regalis (royal ferns). These ferns are supposed to grow very tall, 1.2 to 1.8 m (4 to 6 ft), but in my climate they are more like minor nobility at about 30 cm (1 ft) tall.
I’m looking forward to seeing how ‘Havana’ and ‘Peppermint Spice’ settle into the garden. I’ll show pictures next year of how the new Heuchera look flowering in the shade. My other Heuchera have been winter hardy in my zone 3 garden, so I expect these to do well. Heuchera leaves look fabulous in the fall and continue to look great well past the frost. Even after a snow fall, if they aren’t buried, they are adding wonderful colour to the shade garden.