Balcony garden

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Saturday 2 October 2010 12.16am
I recently bought a few Heucheras ('black out', 'lime marmalade' and 'Firechief'). I wonder if there is any Heucheras enthusiasts in this forum to offer some advice.

They are thriving on my well exposed balcony often too hot in the afternoon and cold at night. I just realised that the leaves have a light 'sandpaper feel'. I wonder if this could be an infestation or some sort of disease, pollution (from the nearby Shard?) or simply dry or a change of texture when the weather is cold. I can't recall the leaves having a sandpaper feel when I bought them. Having said that they look wonderful and I can't see any bugs on the leaves or on the base of the plants. In fact, one of them started flowering.
Saturday 2 October 2010 8.26pm
Hi, Kaptau.
Heuchera is a strange choice for a balcony garden.They are more commonly known as 'Coral flower,' and thrive in herbaceous borders in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. I have several in my border and they are a reliable cottage-garden plant that make a wonderful sight, nestling among the taller prennials. The long, slender spikes with the delicate little bell-shaped flowers do indeed enhance a herbaceous border. They are a hardy perennial and will flower year after year, but don't let them dry out. When they become overcrowded, the crowns should be lifted and divided. I can only therefore repeat that they are a strange choice for a balcony garden. That's not to say that they won't give you pleasure, but you could have made a better choice.
Having read this through, I do sound a bit pretentious. That was not the intention.
Saturday 2 October 2010 11.57pm
Hi Chalkey. Not at all and thanks for the feedback. I have to admit that I am not good with plants and therefore decided on hardy perennial. Something low maintenance and can withstand a little neglect (not too much watering when I am away for work).

I am a little flower phobia (those with strong colours) and prefer 'leaves' and different shades of green. Hence, the many pots of spider plants and a small crassula nursery in my flat. But my balcony has been neglected for years. So it's time to do something about it. I love rosette-like succulents e.g. sempervivum and echeveria, and hope use these in a single container garden.

Are the leaves of Heuchera meant to have a light sandpaper feel? I just can't recall what they were like when I bought them.
Monday 4 October 2010 9.52am
I would describe the leaves on my Heucheras as being more 'velvety' than like sandpaper, but there are many varieties and they may well differ in texture. I doubt if there's anything wrong with them, as they are usually trouble-free. The crowns tend to rise out of the ground a little when they become over-crowded, and that's the time to lift and divide them, either in spring or autumn. And do cut down the spikes after flowering.
There are many books available to buy or borrow from the library on the subject of patio and balcony gardening. They would provide some very good info.
Monday 4 October 2010 5.22pm
Hi Kaptau
you could try the Heuchera Society -

good luck
Monday 4 October 2010 11.17pm
I did recall the leaves being velvety indeed, particularly on the underside of the leaves.

The seller I bought from had about twenty different types of Heuchera. He explained that some are more likely to be scorched by the sun than others. Some can be grown as part of a garden container. Others are more suitable as borders. He also said that the 'Marmalade' will need some shade in summer.

Casey, many thanks for the useful link.

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