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.
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:
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.