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Home & garden.

Updated: 3 May 2022

How to grow heucheras and best varieties

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
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.


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Key facts

PLANT TYPE Herbaceous perennial

POSITION Part shade or sun for some varieties

SOIL Well-drained

How to grow heucheras: month by month

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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.

Full testing results for heucheras

Heucheras

Variety name Flower impact Flower duration Amount of flower spikes Leaf impact Shape of plants Plant vigour & survival over two years Bee attraction Pests & disease Overall rating 
Best Buy 'Thomas'
Recommended 'Binoche'
Recommended 'Silver Celebration'
Recommended 'Chocolate Ruffles'
'Marmalade'
'Morello'
'Paris'

Heucherella

Variety name Flower impact Flower durationAmount of flower spikes Leaf impact Shape of plants Plant vigour & survival over two years Bee attraction Pests & disease Overall rating 
Best Buy 'Brass Lantern'
Recommended 'Cracked Ice'
'Kimono'
'Redstone Falls'
'Sweet Tea'
'Tapestry'
'Solar Eclipse'

Tiarella

Variety name Flower impact Flower duration Amount of flower spikes Leaf impact Shape of plants Plant vigour & survival over two years Bee attraction Pests & disease Overall rating 
Best Buy 'Morning Star'
Recommended 'Pink Bouquet'
'Iron Butterfly'
'Pink Skyrocket'
'Spring Symphony'

USING THE TABLE: Overall rating - the more stars the better. Rating ignores price and is based on: flower duration 15%; flower impact 15%; foliage impact 15%; shape of plants 15%; attractiveness to bees 10%; health 10%; flower coverage 10%; vigour and survival 10%. Figures given are from the second year of the trial. Height and spread taken in north London while plants were in flower; plants in Scotland were generally smaller.

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.

Planting a heuchera

Pruning

Trim away old leaves in spring before new growth appears.

Cut off flower spikes when the blooms are over.

Pruning a heuchera

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