We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Home & garden.

12 Jan 2022

How to grow heucheras

Heuchera, tiarella and heucherella are a trio of colourful close relatives that can grow in sun or shade. Discover our best varieties and tips for how to grow them
CT
Ceri Thomas
Heuchera

The vibrant colours and patterns of heuchera leaves have made them phenomenally popular, and their often-beautiful flowers are very attractive to bees. Tiarella have fizzy-looking flowers that bring colour to shady spring borders, and heucherellas, a cross between the two, often combine the best attributes of both. Between them, there’s a dizzying range to choose from. They have slightly different growing needs, though, and their success can depend on the soil and position they’re grown in. 

Which? Gardening magazine grew a range of popular varieties in the north and south of the UK over two years to see which would give us the best display.


Make more of your garden: get our free Gardening newsletter for top tips from our experts


Key facts

PLANT TYPE Herbaceous perennial

POSITION Part shade or sun for some varieties

SOIL Well-drained

How to grow heucheras: month by month

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune


Plant/trimPlant


JulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember


Plant
Plant


Best heuchera varieties

Which members can log in to see the full results and which are our Best Buy varieties. If you're not a member, join now to get instant access.

Best Buy heucheras and relatives
What it looks likeVariety nameHeight x spread

100 x 70cm
Bred by Plantagogo nursery, this variety might not have had the vibrant leaf colour of some heucheras, but was consistently strong and gave a knockout show of pale cream flowers. In Scotland, it was one of the few that thrived in the heavy soil. In both gardens it grew into sizeable clumps, with lofty (and at times floppy) flowering stems that attracted many bees. It has also won an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the RHS. Peak flowering: May-July
What it looks likeVariety nameHeight x spread
40 x 40cm
This tiarella had stylish good looks and surprised us with a flowering season that started in spring and carried on throughout the summer, although with fewer flowers after June. The length of the flower spikes was in good proportion to the long leaves, which had a strikingly intricate shape and prominent purple splash over the central veins. The shape of the plants was perky and attractive, although a bit more variable in Glasgow than in north London. Peak flowering: April-July
What it looks likeVariety nameHeight x spread

How we test heucheras

With such a vast array on offer, we chose 29 varieties to grow: 16 heuchera, eight heucherella and five tiarella. These include our existing Best Buys, as well as some new and some more established varieties to compare them with. We grew three plants of each variety at the Which? Gardening magazine trial garden in Capel Manor in north London, where the soil is well drained and the weather relatively mild and dry, and in Greenbank Garden in Glasgow, which has heavy clay soil, high rainfall and generally cooler temperatures all year round. We planted them in spring and grew them for two years, assessing them in both years for all the criteria listed. The trial bed in Greenbank had natural shade from nearby trees, but the bed at Capel was in full sun, so we provided shade for plants where it was recommended by planting them together under shade netting.

Caring for your plants

Planting

If you have heavy soil, fork in plenty of organic matter, such as garden compost, before planting. 

Plant heucherella and heuchera in part shade or sun, as advised for the variety. Darker and hotter colours tend to be better in sun, while cooler and paler colours prefer shade.

Plant tiarella in dappled shade, in soil that doesn’t dry out in summer. Water them in well, and keep watering them in dry weather until they’re fully established.

If growing in pots, use a Best Buy compost for containers with some Best Buy controlled-release feed mixed in.

Pruning

Trim away old leaves in spring before new growth appears.

Cut off flower spikes when the blooms are over.

Watering

Water plants if the weather is very dry and hot, and water pot-grown plants regularly.

Propagating

When plants develop woody stems overtime, divide them by taking the growing ends of the stem and rooting them in small pots, or lift the whole plant and replant to the level where leaves are growing.

Common growing problems

Rust

Heuchera and heucherella are prone to rust, which is seen as small, rust-coloured pustules on the underside of leaves. Cut away all the foliage to just above the crown of the plant and treat new leaves with a fungicide.

Vine weevil

Vine-weevil grubs will eat the roots of plants grown in pots. Treat the compost with biological-control nematodes in spring and autumn.

Read more about vine weevils