Heucheras That Span The Seasons

Can’t choose between pretty flowers and colorful foliage? With these plants, you don’t have to.

Graham Rice July 17, 2014

The first wave of popular heucheras (also called coral bells), in the 1950s, were green-leaved varieties grown primarily for their flowers in bright colors. Then came bronze-leaved varieties with unremarkable flowers, such as ‘Palace Purple’. The latest innovations are multicolored heucheras whose leaves change color with the seasons and varieties that feature both colorful leaves and colorful flowers. These are five of the best of these multiseason heucheras.

Caramel

In spring, the foliage opens in shades of apricot and peach—almost toffee—and then matures to amber. In fall, there are pinkish tints, and in winter, the backs of the yellow-tinted green leaves are noticeably purple. Pinkish cream flowers in early summer complete this unique sequence of coloring, which is also influenced by light intensity and temperature.

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  • 12 inches tall by 12 inches wide; hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 4
Heuchera ‘Caramel’ in spring, summer, and fall.
'Caramel'

Photos: © Gardenphotos.com

Rave On

This variety features the most colorful and effective combination of foliage and flowers. The brightly silvered leaves come with contrasting green veins in a bold and attractive network, while the late spring flowers are bright deep pink and carried on relatively short stems so they sit close above the leaves. ‘Rave On’ appreciates fertile soil.

  • 8 inches by 14 inches; Zone 4
Heuchera ‘Rave On’ boasts a profusion of deep pink flowers borne just above its silvery veined leaves.
'Rave On'

Photos: © Gardenphotos.com

Citronelle

Developed from ‘Caramel’, this is one of the most winter-hardy heucheras I’ve grown, emerging from under the snow looking pristine. Its rich, bright yellow foliage, held on pink stalks, makes a neat mound throughout the growing season. While there are small creamy flowers in early summer, I often snip them off, as they do little more than detract from the foliage display.

  • 12 inches by 14 inches; Zone 4

Winter-hardy Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ lights up any shady spot.

'Citronelle'

Photos: © Gardenphotos.com

Tiramisu

Amber and then chartreuse foliage is veined in brick red at first, then the coloring fills in between the veins to almost cover the leaf before retreating to the veins for winter. Light and temperature, along with the stage of maturity of the individual leaves, also influence the interplay of pigments. The result is a harmonious tapestry of shades.

  • 10 inches by 10 inches; Zone 4

Heuchera ‘Tiramisu’ presents a tapestry of foliage colors ranging from charteuse and amber in spring to brick red in fall.

'Tiramisu'

Photos: © Gardenphotos.com

Snow Storm

This is one of the few truly variegated heucheras, and the most vigorous. Its green leaves are splashed with bright white, sometimes heavily, but always leaving a narrow green edge. Tall spikes of cerise flowers open in late spring and early summer. ‘Snow Storm’ needs good soil and good drainage and is very pretty in a 12-inch terra-cotta pot.

  • 12 inches by 12 inches; Zone 3

Heuchera ‘Snow Storm’, with its interesting variegated foliage, makes a good container plant.

'Snow Storm'

Photos: © Gardenphotos.com