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This North American wildflower is a bushy, clump-forming, vase-shaped perennial with lance-shaped or spoon-shaped, toothed leaves on slender, wand-like stems. Leaves may be occasionally spotted with maroon. Loose panicles of 4-petaled white flowers open only a few at a time and fade slowly to pink, blooming from late spring to early autumn.
This superb plant exhibits dark-eyed magenta flowers that are set off by chartreuse leaves. Even better, though, is the way it weaves its way through neighboring plants, creating fabulous plant combinations with little effort.
'Dark Reiter', a fairly new cultivar, has a short mounded habit and dissected dark leaves. Bright lilac-blue blossoms appear in spring, and trimming the plant back after flowering encourages more blooms in fall and helps maintain its neat habit. 'Dark Reiter' is slow growing, making it perfect for a rock garden. Like many other geraniums, it does not appeal to deer. Pair silver-toned foliage plants with 'Dark Reiter' for a stunning effect. -Teresa Smith, Regional Picks: Northeast, Fine Gardening issue #120
Deeply cut plum-purple leaves emerge in spring and stay true to color throughout the season. Lavender-blue flowers bloom beginning in late spring. 'Midnight Reiter' grows to only about 6 or 8 inches tall and twice as wide. More shade causes the foliage to be greener.
From late fall through winter, the leathery leaves of hellebores stay glossy, cheery, and green. Hybrids of H. orientalis and other species have a clump-forming habit and leathery leaves. They begin blooming in February or March in a range of shades, adding much needed color very early in the season. The blooms last for a very long time, especially if the weather stays cool. Hellebores are tolerant of summer heat and humidity. -Marty Hair, Regional Picks: Upper Midwest, Fine Gardening issue# 127
Hellebores begin blooming in mid-winter in a range of colors, adding much needed color very early in the season. They bloom when the temperature is below freezing, even amidst the snow. Protect from cold winter winds, especially when not insulated by snow, to avoid damaged foliage. Avoid ingestion of all plant parts and contact with the sap.
Daylilies are classic, extremely popular garden plants. They feature long, arching, strappy leaves and long stems of generally 6-petaled flowers, though double flowers are popular as well. Each flower lasts only one day, hence the plant’s common name. Daylilies come in a wide range of colors, from cream and cheery yellow to peach, orange, fiery red, deep burgundy, pink, and purple. Some have contrasting throats and "eye-zones." Daylilies are ideal for a mixed herbaceous perennial border.
'Forsyth Lemon Drop' is lovely and cheerful daylily cultivar.
This heuchera has burgundy leaves splashed with silver and grows up to 16 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Pink flowers emerge in spring and rise to 26 inches tall. This plant performs well in both garden beds and in containers, where it makes a wonderful filler plant.
This heuchera, sold as Dolce® Blackcurrant in the U.S., has purple and silver leaves veined with black and grows up to 16 inches tall and 20 inches wide. While it flowers in early summer, it is grown primarily for its dramatic foliage and performs well in both garden beds and containers.
Heuchera 'Caramel' has H. villosa parentage, so it's more tolerant of heat and humidity that other heacheras. It has glowing, apricot-hued foliage that grows up to 12 inches tall and 20 inches wide. Pink flowers appear in spring. This plant performs well in both garden beds and containers, or as a groundcover when planted en masse. It may be evergreen on warmer climates.
This heuchera cultivar has peachy-bronze leaves and spires of red flowers in late spring and early summer. It grows up to 16 inches tall and 20 inches wide. 'Crème Brûlée' performs well in both garden beds and in containers, where it mingles well with a multitude of plants. This cultivar is very tolerant of heat and sun.
This heuchera has dusky purple leaves with charcoal veins, overlaid with silver between the veins. The plant grows up to 16 inches tall and wide. Pale pink flowers appear in spring. Great in garden beds and in container plantings.
This coral bells cultivar has silvery leaves with vivid purple veins and spires of white flowers in late spring and early summer. 'Green Spice' grows to less than a foot tall and a little wider; the wiry flowering stems rise two feet or so above the foliage. Leaves have an orangey hue in fall.
Ruffled bright green leaves—first chartreuse and then lime green— and spires of white flowers distinguish this vigorous coral bells cultivar. It is eye-catching in a container, in a rock garden, as edging, or as groundcover.
'Midnight Rose' is a striking heuchera with burgundy leaves heavily splashed with hot pink. The plant grows to 10 inches tall and 16 inches wide and produces small flowers in spring, though this plant is grown primarily for its foliage. Grow it in garden beds, as an edger, or in containers, where it will blend well with a multitude of other plants.
Heucheras make excellent foliage plants for sun to part shade gardens. Most flowers are not as impressive as the foliage, but they do add a second level of interest. 'Silver Scrolls' heuchera's leaves are burgundy overlaid with silver and withstand even hot summers, unlike many other silver plants. It grows up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide.
This heuchera cultivar has very dark (almost black) plum or purplish leaves and greenish white, bell-shaped flowers in late spring and early summer.
In the past decade or so, dozens of new Heuchera cultivars have appeared sporting many combinations of foliage color. While all are delightful foliage plants, the lighter-colored varieties seem best adapted to shade. The most popular of these is Dolce® Key Lime Pie. With its bright gold–chartreuse leaves, this gem of a plant will light up a dark, shady area. -Tom Nelson, Regional Picks: Northern California, Fine Gardening issue #127
A guide to growing, care, and propagation of rex begonias, plus some great cultivars
by Rita Randolph
VIDEO Potting Soil Recipe for Annuals
High in nutrients, this mix pumps out the flowers without extra feeding
by Bobby Saul
Stylish Shady Containers
Low light doesn't have to cramp your creativity or limit your plant choices
by Karen Chapman
Container Plantings in the Shade Yield a Spectacular Garden
You don't need a lot of sun or even access to the soil to have a lovely garden
by Gary Keim
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