Heucheras forum: Novice Questions

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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 6, 2014 1:31 AM CST
I hope you don't mind answering some novice questions, but I have several.

I had doubts that huercheras would grow in my dry climate, but they seem to be doing quite well. Of course, I do not know what I am doing right.

I have 'Autumn Leaves', 'Silver Scrolls' and 'Amethyst Myst' and they have done surprisingly well in this climate.

My favorite photo:


I bought 'Obsidian' and 'Paprika' this weekend. They are in 4" pots and I was told that the grower had just potted them up, so I know they need to grow some roots. Since I don't know where to site them and my day temps are in the high 90s for the rest of the summer, I don't plan to but them in the ground until fall.

Everything I have read about 'Obsidian' says it can take full sun. There's full sun and full sun. I live at the 2400' elevation level in the Klamath mountins. The higher elevation means that all of my plants get more intense sunlight and I don't have much shade in this garden. Can I site 'Obsidian' in my full sun in a dry climate ?

Since I am going to put it into a container, what kind of potting soil should I use ? Do heucheras in containers like to be root bound ? I know they need good drainage. What kind of potting soil should I use ? Do they need to be fed while growing root masses in the containers ? If so, what kind of fertilizer should I use ? Heck, what kind of containers should I use ? My temps are in the mid-to high 90s, but do cool off to about 50F at night. What should I be watching for as the plants come through the summer ?

'Paprika' is also said to grow in full sun, but I am guessing because of it's lighter foliage, it should get more shade than 'Obsidian'. Am I correct ?

btw .. I have to move H. micrantha. The dang deer got it. I think I have to put it in a container to in order to bring it back. I'll be taking it out of heavy clay where it has been growing in deep shade. How do you adjust the potting soil when you are taking it out of it's native soil ? Do I have to see if I can find some deep shade for the plant ?

That's a lot of questions. I appreciate any help I can get. I really do like these plants.

Smiles,
Lyn


I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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NJBob
Jun 6, 2014 10:28 PM CST

Moderator

My guess would be full sun in your area might be too much.
They are not heavy feeders a 5-10-5 once a season is enough, but I use a transplant or root stimulator when transplanting [ MG Quick
start]
I have not grown in containers, hopefully Julia will see this question. I think she uses Pro Mix.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 7, 2014 12:02 AM CST
Thank you, Bob.

I think am only going to have them in containers until fall. I am hoping they will be large enough to fill a one gal nursery can. I've found with roses, that if I grow them up to where the root mass fills a three gal can, before I put them into the ground, I end up with a more solid plant.

I don't have much shade on the house pad level, but I can think of a couple of spots for 'Obsidian'. It would be lost in the bed in front of the house where I am going to site 'Paprika'.

My 'Amethyst Myst' is a much larger plant than I expected. I love it, so I am not complaining ... Smiling

I still haven't decided where I am going to put H. micrantha. Probably up on the slope. It will be safe from deer up there. (So much for deer resistant .. Rolling my eyes. ) It's kind of a nondescript plant and has handled neglect quite well. Plants on the slope have to handle neglect well. I don't get up there often enough ... Smiling

I look into the root stimulator for transplanting. Thanks.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jun 7, 2014 6:09 AM CST
Lyn, I have not grown in containers but I would imagine a soil rich with compost would do. I use a l0-10-10 fertilizer on all my plants which includes daylilies, columbine, black eyed susan, snapdragons and they seem to do fine. I do know that plants in pots tend to dry out quicker so you have to make sure you water them more often. We don't get a lot of 90 temps here unless we are having one of those extremely hot summers which happens here about once every 3 to 4 years. It actually has been quite cool here this spring. I have had fairly good luck with heuchera's except for two that I lost. I haven't been able to grow Snow Angel, have lost that one twice. I also lost, can't remember the name, but it had an extremely red flower on it. That one did last a couple of years and I guess our winter killed it off. I love them and would eventually like to get more if I can let go some of my daylilies, which is hard for me to do, lol.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 7, 2014 8:49 AM CST
Thank you, Cindi.

When I lived in southern California, I grew everything in containers because I owned a condo. The only plants that were not stolen were the roses. That's how I became a rose nut.

This is a less friendly climate for container planting because it is hot and dry for at least three months. Then in our normal winters, it is cold and wet. Once night temps are below freezing, I put the hoses away and let plants be watered by nature. This winter, because of the drought in California, I had to pull them out and water every three weeks. That was not fun.

For the rest of the summer, I can expect temps to be around 100F by noon and it doesn't cool down until about 9pm. I don't work outside when it's that hot.

As I said above, I am just keeping them in containers long enough to grow a larger root mass. That helps plants handle both the heat and the cold better when I put them in the ground.

I know enough about container gardening to know that some plants don't want their roots messed with at all, so you plant them in their final container right off the bat. Others, need to be potted up gradually to grow a solid root mass. I don't know what's best for heucheras.

Gardening on five levels means that I don't get to each level every day. The heucheras I've planted, 'Silver Scrolls', 'Amethyst Myst' and 'Autumn Leaves' seem to do OK with my current watering program. So, I am hopeful others will be just as accommodating.

My 'Autumn Leaves' has very red flowers. I didn't get a shot while it was blooming, but I do like the foliage in spring and fall. During the summer months, it looks kind of muddy. It was the slowest heuchera to get established, but I like it well enough to keep it.



I know what you mean about it being hard to give up a daylily. One of the hardest lessons this garden taught me was that roses are regional and some roses simply will not be able to handle the heat up here. I had to give away some of my favorite roses to people who were able to provide afternoon shade for the plants. That hurt.

Thanks for taking the time to look at my questions.

Smiles,
Lyn

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jun 7, 2014 8:52 AM CST
Well I am learning something about northern California. I didn't realize it got so hot where you are.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jun 7, 2014 9:05 AM CST
I was looking at some Heuchera sources and I found the plant I lost. It was called Hollywood and it was my favorite because of its intense red flowers.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 7, 2014 1:38 PM CST
Cindy ...

Hot weather isn't true for all of northern California. I live in an old gold mining town on the inside of the coastal range and don't get the coastal influence to keep temps cooler. Instead I get the valley influence, which is why my evening temps are so high. Heat rises and the valley heat climbs the mountains ... Grumbling and keeps the temps from cooling off until about 9 pm. I have a 50 degree change of temps between day temps and night temps. It doesn't cool off down in the valley ... Smiling

H. micrantha is native to Trinity County at the higher elevations. My plant has survived total neglect for ten years. The only reason the deer ate it this year is that I have finally gotten Mrs. J's roses deer fenced properly, so they are eating everything else they can find.

I think I am going to cage it for the summer and just transplant it in fall. That part of the slope is very much like where the plants are found in the wild.

I was going to use heucheras to create a foliage garden out in front, but since my deer can't read, that's out. I may create that foliage garden up on the slope instead.

'Hollywood' is on my wish list ... Smiling

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 7, 2014 1:39 PM CST
It's on my wish list, too. I just can't get it up here and I need to make sure anything I buy can grow in heat zone 8.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
Image
Hemlady
Jun 7, 2014 2:03 PM CST
I think I may still have another "Hollywood" in my garden. I have had one planted for 3 years in the shade and it has never bloomed for me. I moved it to a sunny location this morning so hopefully it will bloom and I will be able to know or not if it is "Hollywood".

That's funny about the heat in northern California. You would think it would be cooler but I have seen really high temps in Oregon and Washington also.
Lighthouse Gardens

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