|The 1st Heuchera bought|
for this garden in 2010.
My specific itch or should that be itches are Heuchera - sitting in their droves in the GCs - their impressive, perfect, multi-coloured foliage rarely fails to turn heads. Whether they are bought to do a specific job or just another impulse buy, I will always be a sucker for them! They will brighten up a dull corner, provide lush colourful foliage, contrast beautifully with their neighbours, their height a spread make them an ideal front of border choice or just fill a gap when nothing else seems to fit - I can always find another space to plant one!
So you see that sales pitch technique works every time! Obviously, I'm a victim of the marketing ploy! I'm visually drawn in every time!!...need I say more!
Where does the 'hate' come into it? - I hear you ask!
My opinion is that these plants always look like they are giving 100% or they are a total disappointment and looking like they've seen better days, there is NEVER a happy medium, it seems, in my garden. Between you and I, I've actually lost count of just how many have bitten the dust or gone to that great big compost bin in the sky.
Until recently, when not looking their best, I just dug them out, without giving very much consideration to what the actual problem was. Yes, the phrase 'More Money than Sense' has been said to me on many an occasion.
A specific pest for these plants are Vine Weevil Beetles (VWB) and their larvae are one of the most common problems for these plants, so when ever one turned up it's toes or like tumble weed, took off across the garden at first breeze - they were 'out of here' tout suite!!
- Planting to deep - causes crown rot
- Planting to shallow - causes the plant to heave (particularly in winter when freezing occurs)
- Mulch to thickly - a winter tip to help protect against heaving - causes crown rot
- Caterpillars - I have found that caterpillars hide on the underside and munch the foliage
- Slugs - although not generally said to be a pest - those tiny little beige coloured slugs get right down inside the crown and devour the newest and softest of foliage
- Vine Weevil Beetle/Larvae - the adult eats the leaves and the female lays her eggs where the larvae mature by munching on the roots below
- Poorly drained/waterlogged soil - after far too much rain 2012 - I found that those where the soil remained wet for weeks on end - began suffering
- Rabbits/Mice - will nibble on stems and leaves
Some plants just go! - it's as simple as that - 2 specimens planted adjacent to each other - 1 has thrived and 1 just gave up the ghost! Investigation again, showed no sign of the VWB!
Even growing them in containers, with strict chemical control aimed at the larvae of the VWB - brought no success with one or two. Again, I ruled out VWB!
|Heuchera Marmalade Summer 2012|
Under a running tap - wash off all remaining soil/compost. It's at this stage you will see how the plant can be divided - divide sections with as much root as possible and double check each section for grubs. They can get right inside the stalky part of the plant. I would recommend the same practice even if your plant has suffered any of the other problems I mention above. Better to be safe than sorry. Once you have your divisions ready for planting - I use a mix of Multi-purpose compost/JI (what ever I have to hand) and some grit for drainage. Pot them up into individual pots or 3 or 4 into a larger container ensuring an even spacing to allow for growth. Water in and place in a sheltered position, your plant will soon begin to recover. Other advice I have read or been given is to use peat free compost - tried this and to be honest I can't say I noticed the difference, plants in both mediums recovered - so the jury is out on that one! Mulching with grit or gravel is said to make it more difficult for adult VWB to lay her eggs - this I haven't tried, therefore can't comment as to whether is works or not.
Not all is doom and gloom in the Heuchera department - please feel free to check out my pictures from 2012 and just how good these plants look when they are happy
Of course, if you know of other problems please do share it with us - the more the merrier!
Do you have a love-hate relationship with any of your plants? Have you tried and failed miserably to grow a specific plant in your garden? Had an obsession! - how did you beat it?