Ready for More Terra Nova Goodness?

How about some ‘Tomato Soup’ with that ‘Mac ‘n Cheese’?

I had so many photos and thoughts yesterday that I’ve decided another Terra Nova post is in order.  Cindy from My Corner of Katy’s comment about her bad luck with certain Echinacea cultivars made me think about something Dan Heims said about the orange, yellow, red or peach Echinaceas.  He said that those which have E. paradoxa parentage have a tendency to bloom so hard they simply bloom themselves to death.  He suggested cutting the first blooms of these cultivars and using them as cut flowers, so that the plants develop basal shoots and ensure their continued growth.  I wanted to be clear on this so I contacted Janet Egger at Terra Nova, and she wrote “This will reduce the stress on the plant, and it will put more energy into the root system rather than trying to make seeds.”

Being a plant nut who took all of the classes of Botany I could while pursuing my journalism degree (and before I was even a gardener,) I was fascinated by this information.  I’ve had terrible luck with the yellow Echinaceas like ‘Sunrise’, but I’ll take Terra Nova’s advice and give the new ‘Mac ‘n Cheese’ a try.

‘Southern Comfort’ is prettier than the drink.

Dan also discussed Heucheras.  He said that those with Heuchera villosa in their parentage performed better in the South because they were bred for heat and humidity.  He even stated that certain ones like ‘Southern Comfort’ could be planted in the sun.  Now, I find that hard to believe, because I heard the same thing about Sun Coleuses, and they didn’t perform as expected here.  They would only take early morning Oklahoma summer sunshine, and then they needed lots of water.

Again, to clarify things, I asked Janet about heat loving Heucheras. I thought her information was so good, that I’m quoting it below:

Heuchera species that do the best for the south are H. americana and H. villosa. Most of the Heuchera on the market are complex hybrids of 3 or more species.

The TN Heuchera cultivars that are best for the south are:



Midnight Rose

Georgia Peach

Southern Comfort

Crème Brulee

Green Spice”

I noticed that ‘Southern Comfort’ bleached out some in Oklahoma gardens, but with fall, it seemed to recover most of its color.  Last summer, I became enamored of ‘Mahogany’ which isn’t on Janet’s list, but it performed well in my garden.  Although ‘Mahogany’ also faded, it held its own and didn’t dry up or shrink in our heat.  I did plant it in partial shade, and I would suggest the same for the others.


The other thing I learned was that tissue culture, which is how Terra Nova creates such unique cultivars is a very complex process.  There was talk of embryos and stopping the natural abortion process, which I never expected to hear while discussing plants.

My thanks to Janet for her information.  She was a great help.  Hopefully, for those of us who live in the South, we now know which cultivars will thrive.


  1. Anna says:

    I need to know if there is an evergreen heuchera for Zone 7. You seem to be the go to person and I’m especially glad to read this information. This post is chock full of the best advice. I will certainly look for those you have mentioned as I think we have similar summer heat but more frost and cold.

    Anna´s last blog post..An Extrodinary October Flower Extravaganza

  2. I’m neutral on food names for the echinaceas, Dee, but oh baby! Is there a spot in the garden where that Southern Comfort heuchera would stay alive? If it bleaches in Oklahoma what would happen in Austin?

    I still want it ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  3. Gail says:

    Hey Dee,

    Lots of very good information. I can vouch for Heuchera villosa Autumn Bride. It has survived the drought this summer/fall and our wet winters
    with flying colors. It has stunningly big leaves and is evergreen to boot!


    Gail´s last blog post..Pardon My Big Aster!

  4. deb says:

    Hi Dee, Thanks for the Echinacea information. I have had the sunrise series die on a couple of my customers. The blooms are so pretty, but I have gotten gun shy of them because we have lost a few. Now, I feel more comfortable trying them again.

  5. Tamara says:

    Wow! I’m feeling very undereducated about Echinacea and Huechera! I guess that’s because it’s not part of our product line 🙂

    Thanks for the tips!

    Tamara´s last blog post..We’re going to Brazil

  6. Thanks for the info about E. paradoxa hybrids. I got another one this summer, so I’ll be sure to cut off some of the blooms next year. I got a good laugh out of James’ aversion to the food plant names & his suggestions of possible horrors. The food names started out so classy as desserts & cocktails, but Mac N Cheese & Tomato Soup are pretty pedestrian and don’t make me want to buy it for the name.

    Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog post..October Muse 2008

  7. Carla says:

    Ready for More Terra Nova Goodness? Heck Yes! How informative! Echinacheas blooming themshelves to death explains alot! I had a neon pink/purple (don’t remember the name) that BLOOMED and died. I think I’ll try those again! I don’t have a good spot for heucheras here (plenty of heat and humity, too much sun), but I do love them! Thank you for taking time to share!

    Carla´s last blog post..Bloomin’ Tuesday! 10/07/08

  8. Cindy says:

    Dee, thanks for the link love and for the information on the Echinaceas. While I agree with James A-S about the names being less than felicitous, I’m inspired by this post to make another stab at growing these. Maybe I’ll be really bold and try one of those Heucheras, too!

    Cindy´s last blog post..Weight Loss Secret Revealed!

  9. Dave says:

    That is some very useful information! I love the heucheras and have lots of sun. I’ve noticed that most of ours have done alright with partial sun. That is a very good tip for the coneflowers. I’ve had problems with ours this year. I’ll try that tip next spring if they come back.

    Dave´s last blog post..The Garden Blogger Fall Color Project

  10. Kathy Purdy says:

    I have the opposite problem: not, will they endure the heat, but, will they still be here next spring after the cold, and most especially, the mud and alternating freezes and thaws of mud season? Heucheras seem to be especially prone to frost heaving.

  11. Marnie says:

    That was very interesting. I’ve heard that galliardia bloom themselves to death so perhaps that is a factor with the echinaceas too.

  12. Jenny says:

    Hi Dee and thanks for visiting my blog. It was a lot of fun to give the garden bloggers a tour of the Wildflower Center last spring. Wow, those are some hot colors. I only have the pink echinaceas and one white one in my garden and far too many of the pink. I would love some of those colors especially the yellow. I for one have decided that in the Texas summer almost all plants do better if they have a little shade, which is not easy to come by in my own garden. I have read the comments and may just give them a try. I wonder if they are available by seed but suspect not?

    Jenny´s last blog post..AUSTIN GARDEN CONSERVANCY TOUR 2008

  13. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I just love these plants but Ihave had such bad luck with all the new fancy echinaceas and heucheras. Maybe I need to
    try some for southern gardens.

  14. Lori says:

    I second JamesA-S’s comment about the new food naming trend for plants. That said, if there was a heuchera called “Bacon,” I would have to have it just because. ;D

    Lori´s last blog post..Bloom Day, September 2008

  15. JamesA-S says:

    In England there was a rush of excitement over the idea of orangey,reddish Echinaceas a couple of years ago. They looked wonderful but were completely incapable of getting through a winter. As a result enthusiasm waned and they disappeared from most nurseries. On a slightly different tack: is it not horribly undignified for a plant to be called Mac ‘n Cheese or Tomato Soup ? Whatever next? Heuchera Chicken Nugget? or Hosta Two All Beef Patties?

    JamesA-S´s last blog post..A Music Box Full of Gravel

  16. eliz says:

    I haven’t had too much luck with any of the hot-colored echinacea or heuchera varieties but this nursery would inspire me. What a beautiful place!

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