About this cultivar:
Heuchera villosa 'Palace Purple' forms a mound of sharply lobed, metallic bronze-purple leaves, with loose panicles of small pale pink flowers in early summer. Shortlisted for the Chelsea Plant of the Centenary for the decade 1983-1992, people like it!
It was first found by Brian Halliwell (1929-2014) in 1980 in a seed lot growing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew near Kew Palace (hence the name). Initially given the scientific name Heuchera micrantha var. diversifolia, it turned out there was a tag reading error. The original seed was collected from a plant by Edgar Wherry (1885–1982) in the southern United States, where Heuchera micrantha is not native. It was later determined to be the southeast US native Heuchera villosa var. macrorrhiza.
When Brian Hall released the plant it launched a boom in colourful introductions into the gardening world, so we can ultimately thank him for many of the various colours we now see!
- Position: Full sun, partial shade
- Soil: Almost any soil
- Flowers: July, August
- Other features: Interesting Foliage or Fruit, Suitable for Container
- Hardiness: H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15°C), Fully hardy
- Habit: Clump forming
- Foliage: Semi evergreen
- Height: 15 - 45 cm (0.5 - 1.5 ft)
- Spread: 15 - 45 cm (0.5 - 1.5 ft)
- Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
- Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
- Colour: Purple, black, pink
- Goes well with: -
About this genus:
Heuchera (hoy-ker-a)is a genus of herbaceous perennial plants in the family Saxifragaceae. Native to America, their common names include alumroot and coral bells. The genus was named after Johann Heinrich von Heucher (1677–1746), an 18th-century German physician. There are approximately 37 species, but the taxonomy of the genus is difficult because the species often intergrade with one another (just look at the variation across the genus and you can see why)
Heuchera have been very popular recently, probably because of the multitudes of new cultivars with exciting new leaf colours, variegation patterns, and leaf shapes. Modern heuchera leaf colours include green, chartreuse, yellow, peach, pinkish-red, copper and purple, and every shade in between. Coral Bell leaves are often patterned with contrasting leaf veins in silver, or in a darker shade than the main leaf colour. With so many different foliage variations to choose from it is interesting to think that Heuchera were originally grown for their flowers, Although modern breeders of landscape Heucheras have not focused on the flowers, they are still quite attractive...clusters of dozens of tiny bell-like flowers at the end of a tall wiry stalk during the summer.
Heuchera are best in part shade, but will tolerate a wide range of light levels. Likewise they grow in most soils that aren't too extreme.
We have some light coloured foliage cultivars in our garden at Ballyrobert but the ones we use most are the dark reds and purples (and we pair them with hot colours). As for other combinations; try them planted in a mass or paired with Hosta, Ophiopogon, Phlox and Tricyrtis.