Heuchera (Coral Bells)

Heuchera by far are one of my favorite plants for shade. Not only are they beautiful plants but in my garden (where deer and rabbits roam) have been very pest free. They don't require much water to maintain once they are established and will pretty much take care of themselves. the only real maintenance that is necessary is a dividing about every 3 years to re-invigorate the plant. Sometimes the center will die back and all the gardener needs to do is divide it and replant one of the divisions where the original plant was. the really cool thing is you end up with more free plants!

Here are a few of the heucheras we have in our garden:

Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls'
One of my favorites among favorites Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls' sports a silvery variegation. Zones 4-8

Heuchera 'Dale's Strain'
'Dale's Strain' will change color in the winter to a more caramel-burgundy-brown shade. In the spring it comes back all green with a whitish variegated sheen on the leaves. Zones 4-7

Heuchera 'Midnight Rose'
This is one of our newest additions. It's a sport of the popular 'Obsidian' Heuchera and has tiny purple specks all over the leaves. A very cool one! Zones 4-9

Heuchera 'Mocha'
Mocha is fairly ordinary in appearance with dark color leaves. It makes a good contrast with the green colored heucheras like 'Dale's Strain'. Zones 4-9

Heuchera 'Mystic Angel'
I bought 'Mystic Angel' while searching for 'Silver Scrolls' because I thought it looked similar. There's a bit more green in the leaves but has some very nicely colored veining. Zones 4-9

Heuchera 'Palace Purple'
'Palace Purple' seems to be the plant that started it all. It was one of the first heucheras bred and many current cultivars descended from this variety. It is one heuchera that will come true from seed and I've grown several 'Palace Purple' plants from seed I collected in the late summer and fall. Other heucheras may not come true from seed but some interesting variations might be found if you decide to try it. Zones 3-9

Heucheras make great companion plants to hostas!

Look here for information on rooting Heucheras from cuttings.

Information on Great Plants for The Home Garden is either modified from posts I wrote on The Home Garden or is original content. Copyright 2007 to present.


Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia is a great perennial for the garden. Low in pests problems and high in visual interest it never fails to provide an impressive display in the late summer. It reseeds easy and is especially good for problem areas and wildflower gardens. It's seeds nourish the birds in the fall while it's petals nourish the eyes of the gardener in the summer giving you very few reasons not to plant one!

Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susans) go well with many combinations of plants. The rudbeckias in the top photo are planted with daylilies and purple coneflowers while the ones below are in a mass planting. I've also used rudbeckia with Russian sage.

Planting and Propagating Rudbeckia:
Just sprinkle a few seeds over the soil where you would like plant to grow in the early spring or start indoors a few weeks before the last frost date. Don't cover the seeds.

Information on Great Plants for The Home Garden is either modified from posts I wrote on The Home Garden or is original content. Copyright 2007 to present.


'Powis Castle' Artemisia (Planting and Rooting)

Since its addition to our garden in 2009 'Powis Castle' artemisia has proved to be a powerful perennial plant for foliage! I've always enjoyed artemisias for the silver foliage and really liked the 'Silver Mound' artemisia that we put in the front sidewalk garden so once I found this cultivar at a local nursery I thought I would give it a try. It spread to an area of 5 feet wide in its first season in the ground. 'Powis Castle' is more stout than tall.  It may be 18-24" tall right now and might get up to 3 feet tall.

For a nice combination of plants I added it into our birdbath garden as a companion plant for some 'Mystic Spires' Salvia. The artemisia began taking over the location and almost completely crowded out the salvia.  Truthfully I don't mind if it takes over because it looks really cool. A little planting advice: give it some space!

The Details on Artemisia 'Powis Castle':
'Powis Castle' Artemisia is a great perennial for zones 6-8 and likes a full sun location but can take partial shade. It can grow up to 3 feet tall with a diameter of 3-6 feet. Very impressive! Its flowers are insignificant and won't produce viable seed that will be true to the parent plant. All new plants of 'Powis Castle' come from cuttings. If your choice is pruning in the fall or spring, prune in the spring just before new growth occurs. With many perennials the foliage helps to protect the plant from frosts. According to Floridata it is believed to be been a hybrid between Artemisia arborescens and Artemisia absinthium. 

Propagating Artemisia ('Powis Castle' other forms may vary)

'Powis Castle' artemisia is very easy to propagate though stem cuttings.

How to root cuttings of 'Powis Castle' artemisia:
  • Find a piece of stem with two nodes and make your cutting beneath the second node. 
  • Pinch off any top growth in the center and leave only one or two leaves. The fewer leaves you have the less water it will lose which increases the odds of success.
  • Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone and place it into your potting medium. 
  • Keep the cutting medium moist for about two to three weeks then check for resistance. 
  • Pot them up and grow them until they are large enough to plant in your landscape!

Here is one of my rooted cuttings just before potting. There is only a tiny little root coming from the artemisia but it is just enough to get this plant growing. It began growing new foliage while still in its medium which is a good sign that rooting may have occurred.

Here you can see the root a little closer along with the rooting medium still somewhat attached. I don't wash it off since I would risk dislodging the newly formed root from the cutting. In this case I used a mix of sand and peat.

Here is the top leaf node of the cutting. I pinched it back during rooting to encourage root formation by forcing the auxins (hormones) in the plant to work toward making roots rather than foliage. Once rooting occurs, foliar growth resumes fairly quickly.

Information on Artemisia propagation and plant information was modified from posts I wrote on The Home Garden.



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