Heuchera Care for the Commercial Grower


January 18, 2024
Category: Growing Tips

Are you introducing Heuchera (also known as Coral Bells or Alum Rootto) to your commercial greenhouse program for the first time? Your customers will love Heuchera’s unique, low-maintenance foliage and versatility.

Available as seedlings or rooted plugs, our Heuchera plants arrive ready to be transplanted into your final containers. Follow the tips in this short guide on Heuchera care to successfully finish and sell your starter plants. 

You will learn:

  • The basics of transplanting and finishing Heuchera seedlings and rooted plugs
  • How to time your starter plants
  • How to coach your customers to succeed in growing their new plants

How to Grow Heuchera in Your Greenhouse

For seedling plugs, plant one per 4-inch or two per 6-inch container. Plant rooted plugs one per gallon container. Use well-drained soil and plant your plugs in the middle or evenly spaced in your container. Arrange containers to allow airflow and sunlight penetration around the base and foliage of each plant.

Most Heuchera varieties don’t require pinching, bulking, or vernalization. But some cultivars do need bulking and vernalization. For example, Bressingham Hybrids seedling plugs need 6-10 weeks of bulking and 9-10 weeks of cold treatment. Check the individual variety you choose to order for these requirements. Don’t use PGRs on Heuchera. 

Maintain average temperatures of 60-65℉ daytime and 50-55℉ nighttime. Use media with a pH of 5.8-6.2 and an EC of 0.9-1.0. Feed 100-150 ppm N constant liquid feed and water moderately.

Watch for fungal diseases like downy mildew, botrytis, and leaf spot. Scout for Black Vine Weevils, which may infest the roots. Generally, Heuchera isn’t prone to pests or disease. Take these simple steps to prevent fungal diseases:

  1. Space containers to allow air and light to penetrate all the way down to the soil.
  2. Provide sufficient airflow in your greenhouse. We’ve found horizontal airflow fans to be helpful in preventing fungal diseases.
  3. Water early in the day, at the base of each plant, to keep the leaves dry and to allow the soil to dry out before nightfall. Do not allow for standing water or continually wet soil. Use well-drained soil for transplanting.
  4. Treat plants with a fungicide according to the label’s instructions. For more information, check out our blog on dealing with powdery mildew and fungus.

Starter Plant Timing

For seedling plugs, start one per 4-inch or two per 6-inch container 10-11 weeks before you want to make them available for customers. Consider whether the cultivar requires bulking and vernalization, which will add considerably to the finishing time. For rooted plugs, start one per 4-inch or 6-inch container 4-6 weeks before you make them available or three per 10-inch container with 10-12 weeks of lead time.

Varieties of Heuchera

We offer thirteen varieties of Heuchera, half as seedlings and half as more mature rooted plugs. They vary widely in the look of foliage and flower. Foliage ranges from dark green to lime green to purple or red and silver. Foliage is typically triangular or rounded, and smooth or ruffled. This plant sends up stalks of red or pink flowers in spring or summer, depending on the variety. 

We offer some non-patented seedling varieties (as well as unique cultivars that require tags) that offer superior heat and drought tolerance and interesting new colors and patterns.

How Your Customers Can Use Heuchera

Your customers will love Heuchera’s evergreen foliage, versatility, easy care in the garden, and unique blooms. Sell Heuchera to homeowners looking for an evergreen perennial to bring visual interest to a rock garden, landscape border, or container. Renters will love adding a point of colorful foliage to a patio or front porch, and this plant’s shade tolerance makes it a great choice! 

This plant resists deer and attracts pollinators, is drought tolerant, and does well even in clay soil. Big bright flowers bloom in summer, perennial in zones 4-9 with year-round foliage, which provides depth, texture, and color in the garden. Heuchera flourishes in full sun with moderate water or part shade with low water. 

In a partly shady location, pair Heuchera with Astilbe, Bleeding Heart, Fern, Hellebore, Hosta, and Lamium. Create stunning sunny landscape beds by pairing Heuchera with ArtemesiaBugleweed, Daylily, Geranium, Iris, Lysimachia, and ornamental grass.

Encourage customers to place plants in well-draining soil in partial shade or full sun, being sure to choose a sunny location that maintains moisture well. Water regularly, especially in the first year, as the plant establishes a root system. Cut plants back in fall, especially in cold climates, or remove frost-damaged foliage in spring. 

Enjoy the benefits these low-maintenance foliage plants add to your commercial greenhouse selection! Please reach out to us with questions. We love to help you grow your greenhouse business.