In my previous, editorial, life I did a lot to promote the ‘new’ heucheras. And because I visited flower shows throughout the year, the garden became filled with all the latest. But a big move and a new ‘field’ to develop meant that they had to be ignored. I also became a little disillusioned with many of them because they just struggled to grow. They were great for pots and thrived in fluffy compost but then so did vine weevil grubs which are a major issue when growing these plants. I have bought a few in the past year or so but was disappointed to find that these had grubs in the pots (discovered because I was tardy planting them and they collapsed).
But I will add some to the garden now. This delight (or horror) was bought because I have to plant a pot for a magazine article (Garden News weekly jobs). Heucheras are invaluable for this because they provide bright colour and evergreen foliage. ‘Pinky Panky’ has ridiculous greyish, pink-flushed leaves and a horrible name. I think it is pretty new and is Belgian, bred by Dirk Scheys, who has introduced some great cultivars. I am very worried that this is too colourful to be a good grower but, after the photos, it will be put into the garden. I have a bed prepared for a small collection.
A good reason for confining these ‘mad’ heucheras to a pot is that they are just too colourful for borders. I have, reluctantly, come to the conclusion that they are just too ‘artificial’ to sit happily with most of my planting. They are perfect for blue-glazed pots, jostling with bedding and gravel but, although I appreciate the amazing achievement, I am not sure how they fit in the garden – although this would look awesome with a blue agapanthus or a steely blue festuca!
Heucheras should be evergreen and hardy. But they need good drainage. Poor performance in this garden is because of rather wet, clay soil. They also age badly and develop ‘stems’ above the soil. Split them and bury these to rejuvenate them. Heucheras have small flowers that are often showy and always popular with bees. ‘Pinky Panky’ is supposed to have pink flowers.
Heucheras grow well in sun or part shade and are surprisingly resistant to drought once established.
Of course I couldn’t buy just one and I also bought ‘Silver Gumdrop’ which is a bit more restrained.
Update June 2022
Well it seems that ‘Pinky Panky’ is a lot tougher than it looks! It came through winter without as much as a sniffle and is now covered in flowers. I am still not quite sure if I love it and I think it would look a lot better next to a solar frog light or a fairy house but, credit where credit is due, it has grown well.