Fresh growth sizzles and foams,
Then settles into dark, rich deliciousness.
I may envy Southern gardeners for some of the plants they can grow – like camellias, and cannas as perennials, as well as their long season tomatoes, but they miss out on the true glory of Heucheras. In the North, as long as the foliage color isn’t yellow or white, a Heuchera can take full sun, which brings the foliage coloring to new heights. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one here, new Heuchera Grape Soda, because the contrast between new growth and mature leaves is very exciting.
Pushing plants to their limits isn’t something you want to do with everything, but Heucheras are one you will want to see just how much color you can get from. Their evergreen nature means that as long as they aren’t under snow-cover there is life in the garden. Let the drifts pile up, but when mid-winter thaw comes along, there they are – a bit flattened – but still colorful in the dead of the cold season. It doesn’t matter that last year’s growth is tattered. Spring will come and fresh leaves will erupt to cover up the old. Don’t waste time trimming all the old leaves away. Just remove the bottom layer in early spring, and soon the rest will become invisible.
You couldn’t ask for an easier to maintain plant. Heuchera blooms don’t do much for me, like many hostas, it’s all about the leaves, and I remove bloom stems as they rise. Now as a cut flower, they could be wonderful in garden bouquets, so it’s really all about what you want from your garden, but unless they’re massed, the bloomscapes of most Heucheras just look ‘weedy’. The mound of leaves on the other hand in full sun in a cool climate create a dazzling and dramatic foil to the greens of taller perennials. They connect the front row to the heights, and add an accent not possible unless you resort to annuals. Come to think of it, you’ll be hard pressed to find full sun annuals that can replace the coloring of Heucheras.
New Grape Soda Heuchera starts out with new growth leaves that are silvered rose, and as they get larger and the days lengthen the foliage morphs into a light rosy red, finally leveling out at a lovely deep grape purple with a silver overlay for fall and winter.
At 9-inches high and 20-inches wide, this mound of leaves can’t help but create a lot of drama in the front row of any garden. The pink to purple flower scapes will rise to 18-inches in height in early summer, and may look totally fetching tucked into a vase cut garden flowers. Coral Bells have long been a favorite for adding fluff to an arrangement, so these shouldn’t disappoint with their long stems.
Hardy in zones 4-9, Heuchera Grape Soda is rather drought tolerant once established in your garden soil. It needs good drainage though, and never bury the crown when planting or scratching up the garden soil. That will kill any Heuchera quickly. They don’t require special soil, and will do well in average garden soil, though if you’re keen on water conservation and drop-dead gorgeous plants, I recommend you make sure you have good moisture retention and amend to meet that requirement. You will have to water newly installed Heucheras daily for the first year.
I wish I could say that Heucheras are deer resistant, but they aren’t. Especially the new growth early in the season, so be sure to spray it with deer repellent from early spring to early summer, at which point in my experience, there seems to be enough new growth in the wild that the deer loose their interest in them.
Trademark and Nomenclature
Heuchera Grape Soda
2014 Introduction from Terra Nova Nurseries