Thursday, March 11, 2010

Plant of the Week: Island Alum Root

Yes, I realize that I crowned Heuchera micrantha "Plant of the Week" mere months ago (at least I could have sworn I did, but can't find the post to link to it!), but when I arrived in this garden, it asked me so very politely to be included again with its dainty show of lace-like flower stalks.  How could I refuse such a sweet request?  I mean, look at her!  A lovely addition to the shade garden and green all year 'round, Heuchera will delight a native cottage-style garden with no real fuss.  I'm sure many of you have seen the hybridized Heucheras at local nurseries- same plant, only in shades of purples and bronzes.  They'd be wonderful mixed in with this one, but my experience has told me that these native varieties give the best performance.

Sun:  No!  Shade or part shade will do nicely.  Keep her away from scorchy afternoon sun.
Soil:  The one shown above is in medium clay, I'd shy away from the sandier side of things
Plant:  Buy them in 4" containers- they're usually the same size as the one gallons and will grow in pretty fast in the right conditions.  Any time of year should be fine for starting out.
Buy it:  At Annie's Annuals or Oaktown Native Nursery in Alameda.  Also, try micrantha's cousin Heuchera maxima- another very lovely native that Las Pilitas graciously tells us all about (none in stock, however)
Good for:  shade gardens, cottage style gardens, dreamy floral arrangements, wildlife gardens, deer-prone gardens


  1. It really does look very healthy. I didn't have much luck with some hybrids I tried years ago, the slug pressure was a little severe in that garden. I gather by the last sentence though that deer aren't fond of it? Most of our soil is on the sandier side, but we do have some somewhat heavier soils at the base of some of our slopes...and deer here certainly grow like weeds! Maybe worth a try.

  2. Yeah, let me know how it works out. I haven't noticed slug damage (and this garden certainly has slugs). I just planted a few in a "deer garden", so I'll have to give an update on how they've fared.

  3. Very pretty! My heuchera started blooming just a little while ago, it always makes me feel like spring!