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Heichera, from the Latin Heuchera, is a popular decorative landscape perennial herb from the Kamchatka family in landscape design. It is very widely cultivated in open ground both in our country and abroad.
Decorative culture got its name in honor of the famous German botanist Johann Heicher. A botanical description and characterization of the order of sixty plant species belonging to the genus Heuchera is known. Many of them grow only in North America and Mexico. Some species are found in mountainous areas and coastal areas.
Usually, plant height does not exceed 0.5 m. Leaves of a basal type, long-leaved. Heichera foliage strikes with a variety of shades and can be not only a classic green color: there are species with white, cream, red, purple, brown, gray and silver leaves. The flowers are numerous and quite small, collected in paniculate inflorescences. The flower, depending on the variety, may have a red, pink, greenish or whitish color.
Many species from the genus Heuchera are completely unpretentious and quite hardy, which allows them to be used as ornamental plants in most regions of our country.
|View name||Latin name||View description|
|American hehera||Heuchera americana L.||The foliage forms an attractive rosette, the height of which can vary between 15-20 cm. The leaves are round-heart-shaped, long-leaved, the underside of a brownish-purple color. Peduncle 0.5-0.6 m high. Flowers are yellow-green in color, collected in panicled inflorescences|
|Hairy hehera||Heuchera villosa||It has large and beautiful velvety leaves, pubescent petioles and peduncles. Flowers are small, inconspicuous, green-cream staining|
|Hybrid heicher||Heuchera hybrida N.||Interspecific hybrid obtained by crossing a blood-red heichera with an American and a small-flowered one. Has larger leaves, flowers and peduncles. It is characterized by long and plentiful flowering.|
|Blood red heicher||Heuchera sanguinea E.||Well suited for cultivation in soil and climatic conditions of Central Russia. The leaves are collected in compact sockets, quite dense, rounded in shape, with pubescence and serrated edges. Flowers of small sizes, bell-shaped, raspberry, pink or red color, collected in an oblong panicle|
|Small flowered heichera||Heuchera micrantha||It has beautiful foliage with grayish-silver spots. High decorativeness is due to loose panicle inflorescences from numerous small creamy pink flowers with reddish-orange anthers|
|Cylindrical heicher||Heuchera cilindrica||It is characterized by very large flowers and compact leaf sockets. The inflorescences are dense, cylindrical in shape, consisting of bell-shaped flowers of beige-green color. The leaves are green, heart-shaped, with a blunt dentate edge and contrasting leaf venation|
|Leaf goeyhera||Heuchera grossulariifolia||This species has excellent winter hardiness, allowing even after sufficiently severe frosts to fully maintain the high decorativeness of the aerial parts of the plant.|
The best varieties
There are a huge variety of varieties and hybrid forms of heichera, but the most unpretentious and decorative varieties are most often grown in the gardens of our country.
Geicher: variety of varieties
|Grade name||Flower stalk||Flowering features||Varietal characteristic|
|"Alba"||40-50 cm||From midsummer to early fall||Foliage pronounced green staining, pure white flowers|
|"Robusta"||40-50 cm||In the first decade of summer||Flowers of dark red color, large sizes. Red foliage prone to redness|
|"Snowstorm"||30-40 cm||From late spring to mid-summer||The flowers are bright red in color, the foliage is very variegated, in green and white colors. Winter hardiness is very low.|
|"Splendens"||50 cm||From midsummer to early fall||Flowers carmine red staining, green foliage, compact inflorescences|
|"Splish-Splash"||30-40 cm||From late spring to mid-summer||Pink flowers, variegated leaves, with green basic coloring, light green spots and raspberry red veins|
|Purple Castle or Palace Purple||40-50 cm||From spring to frost||Bright, purple with a characteristic metallic tint of foliage, very elegant white inflorescences|
|"Cappuccino"||Up to 50 cm||In the summer, for a couple of months||Foliage staining is mostly green, with contrasting veins and creamy blotches.|
|Rachel||40-50 cm||In the summer, for a couple of months||The compact leaf rosette has bronze-purple stains and pale pink flowers|
Despite the unpretentiousness of the decorative culture, when planting and transplanting a hehera, it is extremely important to choose the right site and observe the technology of planting:
- depending on the varietal characteristics, seedlings of decorative culture should be planted in areas with good lighting or with little shading, for a significant part of the varieties, semi-shaded places with sufficient lighting in the morning should be planted;
- the landing area for any variety of heichera should be well protected from stagnation of cold air and north wind;
- unpretentious plant grows best and develops on light, nutritious, well-drained and permeable soils.
The distance between planted plants may vary depending on varietal characteristics, including the size of the aerial parts. After planting, it is necessary to provide the flowers with abundant watering, and, if necessary, shading.
Seed cultivation and propagation
Most often, heichera propagates by bush division or by rooting cuttings. In the first case, you need to dig out a decorative bush and divide it into several parts. Less commonly used is seed propagation.
When seed propagation, remember the following:
- seed material remains viable for six months after collection;
- seeds packaged in foil packaging have a standard shelf life of no more than eighteen months;
- soil for sowing seeds should be as loose as possible, with the addition of fine-grained sand or perlite;
- before sowing, the soil mixture should be disinfected under high temperature conditions;
- surface sowing of seeds is carried out in the first spring months on well-moistened and loosened soil;
- sowing containers should be covered with plastic wrap or any other translucent material;
- subject to sowing technology, the first seedlings appear after about two to three weeks;
- pickling seedlings in separate planting containers is carried out when the third leaf appears.
In mid-May, young plants should be hardened for a week, after which the plants are transplanted to a permanent place in the open ground.
The basic measures for the care of geyhera are very simple and do not require special knowledge, time and effort:
- watering should be regular, as the soil dries, the plant needs to spend about a bucket of water about every two days;
- in the spring, it is recommended to mulch the soil around the bushes with a layer of peat or sawdust;
- in the absence of proper care, plants often suffer from powdery mildew, rust, gray rot or spotting;
- plant parasites — snails, slugs, weevils, caterpillars and leaf nematodes — pose a high danger to plantations.
In regions with a cold climate and a long winter period, it is recommended to cover the culture in late autumn with oak foliage. Cutting last year's foliage should be done in the early spring, after removing winter shelter from plants.
Beautiful heichera in the decor of the garden
In landscape design, heichers are very popular due to the following positive characteristics and species features:
- the possibility of creating bright accents on the background of green grass;
- preservation of decorativeness throughout the season;
- a very rich selection of a huge number of species and varieties;
- the possibility of growing as a decorative container culture;
- the ability to show a high level of decorativeness both in areas well shined by the sun and in the shade;
- compactness, unpretentiousness in cultivation, resistance to quite severe frosts;
- easy reproduction, including from seeds;
- excellent compatibility with most other ornamental plants, including annual and perennial flowering crops;
- perfect for decorating borders and placing in the foreground;
- the possibility of placement in rocky areas and near artificial or natural bodies of water.
The heichera “Moscow Lights”, “Violet Tent” and “Caramel”, as well as other varieties of plants are very widely used in landscape design to create colorful compositions, which is especially important if necessary to fill up free space on a garden or personal plot.
The decorative culture looks great in individual plantings, and the increased splendor and density of the aerial parts make the heicher an ideal option for decorating a rock garden and rockery. Many varieties can be placed in decorative flowerpots and flower containers, which allows you to decorate arbors, patios and terraces.
Geicher can be planted in compositions with almost any garden crops, but the best combination is this decorative plant with astilbe and bruners, daylilies and Veronica, chrysanthemums and ornamental cereals. Heichers with hosts and ferns, irises and sedium, geraniums and primrose look very impressive.