The Right Heuchera for You! How to Choose These Colorful Shade Plants for Your Garden!

Heuchera General Information

Heuchera, or Coral Bells, have hundreds of varieties available on the market. They prefer shade to part shade, with a few varieties able to tolerate full sun in cooler climates.

Heuchera flowers are typically showy, bright colors that attract pollinators like butterflies and bees to your yard, and ALL species are native to North America. They grow in USDA zones 4-8 only, so if you live outside of those areas, it’s probably best to pick a different perennial, or grow Heucheras as an annual.

Heuchera are available in a bewildering array of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. But which one fits in with your growing zone and climate?

In this blog, I’ll take you through the most common Heuchera species (the wild origin ancestor plants) and into the newer developed hybrids and crossbreeds produced by plant breeders for better performance in the home garden, with photos and variety examples for Northern states and Southern states to guide you to the right choice for you!

Heuchera americana

Heuchera americana

This is a straight species H. americana.

Originally native to the Central United States., H. americana withstands both hot and cold temperature extremes. The plant has a neat mound habit, and seems to prefer woodland locations. It is very commonly hybridized with other species to produce many colorful varieties.

 

 

See all our H. americana lineage Heucheras at our Buy Heuchera Page – H. americana.

 

Heuchera cylindrica

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This is a straight species H. cylindrica.

Sometimes known as Roundleaf Heuchera, the leaves can vary but are commonly a little ’rounder’, lacking the sharply defined lobes of some other Heuchera species. Native to the Northwestern United States and Canada. Of course, hybridization mixes traits, so lineage is not always immediately apparent. The flower stalks of H. cylindrica are quite rigid and can fare better in windy conditions.

See all our H. cylindrica lineage Heucheras at our Buy Heucheras Page – H. cylindrica.

Heuchera sanguinea

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This is a straight species H. sanguinea.

The first heuchera commercially available and may be familiar from your grandmother’s garden, H. sanguinea frequently has the showiest blossoms of the Heuchera varieties. This species is native to the Southwest United States and can maintain its flowers even in dry, hot weather.

 

 

 

 

See all our H. sanguinea lineage Heucheras at our Buy Heucheras Page – H. sanguinea.

Heuchera villosa

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This is a straight species H. villosa.

H. villosa are native to the Eastern United States. Hybrids using this species are typically recommended for the deep South, as they can survive very hot, humid conditions. They typically have large, hairy leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

See all our H. villosa lineage Heucheras at our Buy Heucheras Page – H. villosa.

 

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This is a straight species H. micrantha.

Heuchera micrantha

This Heuchera species is native to the Western United States and Canada. The origin species for the ‘ruffled’ look in Heuchera leaves, they are also the most cold-tolerant Heuchera.

The ruffled shape of the leaves may have something to do with it, since it naturally insulates by trapping air pockets beneath and between the leaves themselves. H. micrantha are also very variable in size and color, with some displaying intense ruffles and others less.

See all our H. micrantha lineage Heucheras at our Buy Heucheras Page – H. micrantha.

Heuchera Hybrids

H. 'Green Spice' (americana lineage)

H. ‘Green Spice’ (americana lineage)

Nearly all Heuchera on the market today are a mixture of any and sometimes all of these species! Heuchera hybrids are designed to give you the best selection of colors, sizes, leaf shapes, and textures for your garden, while trying to maximize and/or target growing areas.

While color, leaf shape, and texture are important to your garden design, the species lineage of your Heuchera can frequently determine how well it will grow for you.

For Hot and Southern Climates

If you live in an area with predominantly hot weather (Deep South, SouthWest, etc) you may want to specifically look for Heuchera hybrids with plenty of H. villosa or H. sanguinea lineage.

Here’s a few examples of some Heuchera hybrids with villosa and sanguinea lineage.

H. ‘Autumn Leaves’ (villosa hybrid)

H. ‘Southern Comfort’ (villosa hybrid)

H. ‘Champagne’ (villosa hybrid)

H. ‘Obsidian’ (villosa hybrid)

H. ‘Plum Royale’ (sanguinea hybrid)

H. ‘Lipstick’ (sanguinea hybrid)

H. ‘Havana’ (sanguinea hybrid)

H. ‘Glitter’ (sanguinea hybrid)

For Cold and Northern Climates

If you live in an area with cold winters (especially zone 4 areas), you may want to look for hybrids with H. micrantha or H. cylindrica lineage.

Here’s a few examples of some Heuchera hybrids with cylindrica and micrantha lineage.

H. ‘Ginger Ale’ (cylindrica hybrid)

H. ‘Peppermint Spice’ (cylindrica hybrid)

H. ‘Paris’ (cylindrica hybrid)

H. ‘Rave On’ (cylindrica hybrid)

H. ‘Forever Purple’ (micrantha hybrid)

H. ‘Ginger Peach’ (micrantha hybrid)

H. ‘Blackberry Crisp’ (micrantha hybrid)

H. ‘Lime Rickey’ (micrantha hybrid)

 

While all Heuchera are rate at USDA growing zones 4-8, both ends of that range come with their own challenges for plants. Be sure to set yourself up for success and choose Heuchera that will work for you and with you to thrive and add beauty and color to your garden for years to come!

How to Purchase

To see ALL the 50+ varieties of Heuchera we offer, see our Heuchera Buy Page! You can filter by species lineage to shop Heuchera for your area!

We also offer their other native relative, Tiarellas, and Heucherellas too, a hybrid between them!

If you need help planting your Heuchera, or tips on caring for and maintaining your Heuchera, see our Heuchera Care and Maintenance Page.

We also have a series of Heuchera Information Pages, with fun information on Heuchera in Hanging Baskets, Heuchera in Containers, and more!