Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Luscious Leaves to Lust Over!

Heucherella 'Solar eclipse' joins friends in a dazzling perennial display.
Photo credit; Terra Nova nurseries

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know I’m passionate about color, plant combinations and cool foliage. With that in mind you’ll understand why I’m excited to share these new plants which will be available to you next spring.

Every fall, the National Garden Bureau (NGB) members submit their favorite new varieties to be featured on the NGB website. These new plants are the results of years of breeding to produce healthier plants with exceptional performance. Here are a few foliage plants which caught my eye.

Grab your sunglasses - 'Mickie'  rockrose is quite
the stunner!

‘Mickie’ rockrose (Cistus x hybridus) makes a serious splash in the sunny garden with its brightly variegated, evergreen leaves. Introduced from Terra Nova nurseries, this promises to be a robust, drought tolerant shrub which is hardy to zone 7. It produces white flowers in spring although I’m sure the main attraction will be those amazing leaves! 2’ x 2’.

What will you pair this coleus with - yes it really is
just ONE plant! Coleus Fuseables 'Under the sun'.

Coleus are surely the stars of summer shade designs. Can anyone even remember when they were considered “just an indoor plant”? Get ready to welcome Coleus Fuseables 'Under The Sun' (Solenostemon scutellarioides) from Harris seeds. This new coleus blend combines multiple seeds of two varieties into one easy to sow pellet. 'New Under the Sun' captures the great color combination of 'Versa Crimson Gold' and 'Versa Lime', where the maroon red and gold contrast nicely with chartreuse. Best yet, 'Under the Sun' tolerates full sun as well as partial shade! Imagine a simple group of these surrounding purple fountain grass in full sun or perhaps Astilbe ‘Visions in red’ in a shade container. Delicious.

Partner this with delicate ferns, golden hostas, variegated grasses....
Heucherella 'Solar eclipse' offers us something new.

Do we really need another Heuchera (or Heucherella)? Well apparently we do because I’m sure I’m not the only one to be excited by Heucherella ‘Solar eclipse’, the latest and greatest from Terra Nova. (Actually a few of my friends seemed to have got an advance sighting this year....). At first glance I thought this was the annual geranium ‘Vancouver centennial’ with its reddish brown leaves bordered in lime green. Yet this beauty is an evergreen perennial and forms a vigorous mound of dense crowns. Can’t wait!

Deep, dark, brooding Hibiscus 'Mahogany splendor'
begs for bright companions. What about black eyed
Susan's (Rudbeckia sp.) for high contrast or white
'whirling butterflies' (Gaura sp.) for something
more delicate?

Another plant which stands out for exceptional foliage is Hibiscus 'Mahogany Splendor' (Hibiscus acetosella). This annual has been introduced by Burpee so look for all those seed catalogs which start to flood the mail boxes in January!  Beautiful maple-leaved foliage in deep burgundy is the ultimate attention grabber of these tropical looking beauties. They will make outstanding specimens in the landscape or containers. Can you resist? (There goes that New Year’s resolution for not growing so many seeds this year Mum…)

Look for these new introductions online, in mail order seed catalogs, as seeds in retail stores, or as bedding plants at garden centers next spring. Let me know what you pair them with!

All photos courtesy of the National Garden Bureau unless otherwise indicated


  1. Wow! I just fell in love with that Mahogany hibiscus. What beautiful foliage! The Mickie Rockrose is amazing too. There are so many colorful foliage plants to brighten a shade a garden anymore. That one will make it glow.

  2. Love the Heucherella. Have you grown it? I sometimes have trouble with Heucheras in NYC containers, so I'm curious how well this one overwinters.

  3. Lona - glad I've given you an excuse to try a few new plants! Remember that the rockrose is for full sun though - it will languish horribly in the shade.

  4. Hi Ellen - this Heucherella is so new that I haven't got my hands on it yet! I now feel duty bound to research on your behalf though...

    I do use a lot of Heuchera and Heucherella (and Tiarella) in containers however in our zones 6-8. Some are definitely more robust than others. My favorites are Peach flambe (full sun), Frosted violet, Tiramisu, Electra, crimson curls,caramel, Creme brulee and Georgia peach for partial shade and Tiramisu for lots of shade. What have you tried?

  5. Happy Birthday to your blog. I have Heucherella 'Solar Eclipse' and 'Solar Power' on order to grow and sell to my customers this spring. Have you actually grown any of these heucherellas in the ground? I find that most heucheras and heucherellas do well in containers but some are definitely not garden worthy.

  6. OK - I am lusting! I must, must have the Heucherella 'solar eclipse'. I hope I will be able to find it!

  7. Seems like the Heucherella is the favorite!! Oh how I do love to 'enable' fellow addicts....

    Carolyn - I have had good success with Heuchera (and relatives) in the ground. However see my reply to Ellen above as to the ones I have been really happy with. Actually I should add Heucherella 'Sweet tea' as a fabulous one for shade both in the ground and in pots. Gorgeous color and nice and big.

    Typically they like moisture retentive but well drained soil. The degree of sun/shade varies with variety but you MUST try my 'signature' Peach flambe in full sun!

  8. It's official - I'm adding a Plants I Gotta Have section to my Spring/Summer 2012 Reminders list and I'm adding the heucherella. The hibiscus is incredible, too!! Woo-hoo!!!

  9. ANOTHER Heucherella fan - this is why Terra Nova is doing so well! I ought to run a post this time next year and ask you all to contribute designs you created featuring Solar Eclipse! Thanks for commenting Casa

  10. Beautiful colors! Thanks for sharing. :)

  11. These all look fantastic - now, are they going to be available in Australia, that's the question. I must have that Cistus, at least.

  12. OMG. Obsessed with Solar Eclipse. That Terra Nova sure makes some incredible plants...

  13. Hey Karen!
    Long time no see. Hope that all is going well with you. Come by and see us at My Garden some time!


    Bill Raynolds (that former Molbakian)

  14. Hi Bill, thanks for stopping by! I'm sure you'll be stocking this Heucherella as soon as you can get your hands on it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.