Heucheras forum: The Missing Plant

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 1, 2017 9:20 AM CST
Almost every year I plant several Heuchera, trying to choose cultivars other than the ones I killed the previous year. I plant them in light shade and water them when I'm watering my roses and daylilies. (maybe twice a week..) I think sometimes two of five has made it through a summer. None has made it through winter. They lasted only a bit longer when I failed with them in NJ. My guess is that there are about seventeen things I'm doing wrong; but I'm not sure which seventeen that might be. I'm guessing, too, that they need really loose humusy soil - that's one thing they've never had.

Any advice would be appreciated.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Apr 1, 2017 9:29 AM CST

Moderator

Hi Steve,
Sounds dismal about so many lost plants. Heuchera do like well draining soil. You will have to tell me about your weather conditions as I've only gardened here in the PNW. I too loose some every year for different reasons. I think people are quick to think a plant is dead when in time it will come up from the bottom. I'll get some pictures, when the rain lightens for examples.
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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 1, 2017 10:19 AM CST
Hi Julia,
The most distinctive characteristic of weather here is that we can go from mid January to mid July without getting more than, say, two inches of rain. Then we get something like 16 inches of rain split almost evenly over the monsoons of July and August and the dark winter days of November and December. We also have long warm spells in spring followed by late frosts: the high can be 80F for four days straight in February and the low can be 22F for two days straight in late April.

There is no question about the soil being well drained. It's silty soil, not too much sand or clay. The plants live two or three feet from the edge of a retaining wall (that goes downhill...) so there's never any standing water. I do tend to dish the soil an inch or so when I plant plants so that when I hand water some of the water stays near the plant. Not a lot of organic matter, but I do put down two inches of mulch every year. After five years of practice it does do a good job of preventing weeds. I generally plant heuchera north of a mature allegator juniper where it gets thin, dappled light, only the occasional ray of bright sunlight. But here at 5200 ft the light is intense on clear days. And we have 220 of those a year, on average.

I do have browsing deer and gophers, but I've never seen evidence that they attack the plants. No evidence of leaf disease, either.

This year, for the first time, I started watering in March and I notice my roses are happier. No heucheras planted last year, though.

BTW is it pronounced HEW ker a, or HOOK er a or WHO ker a?
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
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
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NJBob
Apr 1, 2017 7:51 PM CST

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
A few things they like is organically rich soil that has very good drainage, Slightly acidic soil, and I would not mulch close to the crowns as this causes rot. I find the ones that I have planted on slight mounds do better then those on even ground. I would think the Villosa hybrids would do better in your area as they can deal with the heat better then others. They are not heavy feeders and one dose of 5-10-5 is enough for the season.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 2, 2017 2:44 PM CST
Thanks Bob!
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.

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