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Three Effervescent Coral Bells

By Dan Heims, President, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

Hey campers, you can tell we have a lot of fun naming our plants. Today we examine three fizzy varieties, all named after soda pop! Naming is a group effort with Chuck Pavlich, our New Plants Manager, riding herd over a naming group. I must admit that the names can be wild, but this group has flowers the shape and density of bubbles, so why not? Eventually the group must be sure that the name is not ®-registered in a patent or ™ -trademarked. Clearing that hurdle (including a search for other breeder’s plant names) means we can go forward with our own protection or patent.

When going through the thousands of seedlings that we grow every year, some colors just stop us in our boots. ‘Ginger Ale’ was one of these, along with ‘Champagne’ (one of Dan’s faves), and they just keep getting better as they mature. Cool leaves are not enough, and we watch through multiple flower trials to make sure that it is balanced, proportional, and pleasing to the eye. ‘Grape Soda’ impressed us with its foliage and amazingly long blooming season from April to August. A feast for the pollinators. ‘Root Beer’ is gaining a lot of traction in the UK where root beer does not exist! It is a changing and delightful color with dreamy yellow flowers. Let us find out more!

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Heuchera ‘Ginger Ale’

Effervescent flowers in shades of ginger yellow and light pink erupt from soft, ginger-colored leaves in May and June. Lovely to contrast with the darker coral bells in the marketplace. Designers love the ability of this plant to complement so many colors. It is a perfect neutral tone. Plants make a 9-inch by 10-inch mound and the flowers rise to 18 inches. I remember Martha Stewart calling this color tone “the new neutral,” as it mixes with so many assorted colors. It is not a bully in a pot and can take full or partial shade. Hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4-9. Prefers acidic soil and likes to dry out between waterings. Plants are best used in containers or along borders or paths.

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Heuchera ‘Grape Soda’

Amazing rose-pink spring leaves are followed by lovely, light-purple flowers which flower spring through summer. Summer to winter leaves are purple-burnished silver. An outstanding container and front of the border type, 'Grape Soda' further illustrates that we have come a long way in Heuchera breeding. Long-lasting flowers make this a dual-purpose plant. This gem is hardy in zones 4-9. Prefers acidic soil and likes to dry out between waterings. Plants make a 9-inch by 20-inch mound and the flowers rise to 18 inches. This cultivar is beloved by pollinators as it blooms from April to August! It is also capable of handling full shade to full sun.

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Heuchera ‘Root Beer’

Lovely root beer-colored foliage combines with creamy yellow flowers on this low-growing, mounded plant. 'Root Beer' forms a mound of color year round and is sure to charm you with its spring bloom. Plants make a 6-inch by 14-inch mound and the flowers rise to 18 inches. Exceptionally long lived. Hardy in zones 4-9. Prefers acidic soil and likes to dry out between waterings. Plants are best used in containers or along borders or paths. Blooms emerge in early May and continue through June. More sun tolerant than many forms, but four hours of morning sun is ideal. (Heuchera trivia: Yellow flowers are the rarest color on a Heuchera. One species gives it this color.)

Dan Heims is an award-winning author who lectures throughout the world. He was recently honored by The American Horticultural Society with the Luther Burbank Breeding Award, as well as the Perennial Plant Association’s Award of Merit. He was also honored in receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for advancements in breeding.

You may contact Dan at [email protected].

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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