Heuchera villosa ‘Palace Purple’

10 Jun

Heuchera Heuchera villosa 'Palace Purple' (21/05/2011, Walworth, London)

Heuchera Heuchera villosa ‘Palace Purple’ (21/05/2011, Walworth, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Summer

Eventual Height: 45cm

Eventual Spread: 45cm

Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Saxifragaceae

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ is a semi-evergreen persistent perennial with a clump forming habit. Its foliage will survive most winters in our climate and its leaves are chordate and bronze/ purple with sharply lobed edges. In summer it bears sprays of small tubular white flowers which appear to hover above the leaves.

Heuchera villosa 'Palace Purple' Flower (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Heuchera villosa ‘Palace Purple’ Flower (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’, commonly known as Coral Flower, was originally described as Heuchera micrantha var. diversifolia ‘Palace Purple’ but this has since been adjusted to villosa as the original seed was collected from a naturally occurring purple-leaved plant by Edgar Wherry in the southern United States and the micrantha is only native to California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, this coupled with the micrantha having a much lower frost tolerance led to it being placed within the villosa genus.

The etymological root of the binomial name Heuchera was named for Johann Heinrich von Heucher, the 18th century professor of medicine and botanist at Wittenberg, Germany, with villosa meaning ‘velvet’ in the Latin. ‘Palace Purple’ is in reference to the cultivar being selected from seedlings grown in Kew Gardens near Kew Palace.

Heuchera villosa 'Palace Purple' Leaf (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Heuchera villosa ‘Palace Purple’ Leaf (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

The Landscape architect may find Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ useful as an effective low ground cover when planted on mass providing all year round appeal.

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ will tolerate varied soil conditions; it will be happy at neutral pH levels, in loam or sand based soils in a sheltered or exposed location facing any aspect. The woody rootstock tends to lift out of the ground so it may be mulched annually or lifted and replanted.

Ecologically, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ flowers are attractive to  pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit but this was rescinded due to the market being flooded by inferior seedlings that did not conform to the original specimens.

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ requires little maintenance. Unsightly flower heads and foliage may be removed if required. Large clumps may be divided in spring or autumn.

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