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On Gardening: Dolce Appletini, Primo Wild Rose create heuchera heaven

Norman Winter, Tribune News Service on

Published in Gardening News

Dolce Appletini and Primo Wild Rose were just two of the varieties that gave The Garden Guy’s container designs a touch of heuchera heaven. Now, like you, I find myself longing for spring.

In the South, we love planting heuchera in the fall or anytime from late September through early winter. This doesn’t always sync up with retail, however. Believe me, I’ll plant in the spring if and when available, but in my case, they were all planted in October.

They went right through the winter and were mesmerizing all summer. Despite their ease of growing and showy nature, they still are like hunting for a four-leaf clover at the garden center. In the fall it is kale, cabbage and mustards, but very few if any heuchera.

Although I am in Year 4 of Primo Peachberry Ice planted in the landscape, I love the ability they offer container designs the best. But just saying "Year 4 in the landscape" says two things. The first is they will take the Southern extremes better than most people believe. The second thing: Old Norm, The Garden Guy, needs to work harder in his landscape partnerships.

Dolce Appletini has been like a slap in the face with the forgotten message all of university horticulturists teach our classes. One of the real benefits of container growing is the mobility. You might be thinking I am talking about moving the container from shade to sun or vice versa. While that might be true with Dolce Appletini, I am talking about a much simpler twist or rotation.

Dolce Appletini has a shocking chartreuse or sour apple color that you long for, and the first thing you hear is it will burn or bleach in the sun. The Garden Guy combined them with North Pole arborvitae, Superbena Royale Chambray verbena and Supertunia Vista Paradise.

So, as we worked through April and May, I let them have more sun and then twisted the container to afternoon shade as summer’s heat arrived. The prevailing thought was that you could not get the incredible bright red coral flowers associated with Dolce Appletini, but this was not the case.

Primo Wild Rose is gorgeous with large leaves of dark rose purple colors. I went much longer into the season before I rotated this container. The design combined Primo Wild Rose heuchera with Superbena Whiteout verbena and Superbells Dreamsicle calibrachoa and Superbena Royale Chambray verbena. I used red dianthus as a thriller but changed later to Graceful Grasses, King Tut papyrus to make a stronger statement.


All of my containerized heuchera plantings were in the self-watering planters known as AquaPots. I used the best lightweight potting soil and fertilized monthly with a scoop of water-soluble fertilizer placed in the irrigation tube. If you ever make the switch, you’ll never go back.

The arctic blast of a few days ago caused me to do something I had not done in years. I moved all my containers to the garage and even then, a couple of petunias got wounded. They are all back in their places, and the heuchera will have a few old leaves removed before spring growth. Those in the landscape will get a heavier trim.

Proven Winners has 24 varieties of heuchera, representing the most beautiful fancy foliage you can offer your designs, whether they be in containers or the landscape. But there is much more, as you’ll see there is a reason they are called coral bells. Dolce Appletini, Dolce Spearmint and Dolce Silver Gumdrop are just a few that will leave you breathless with their blooms.


(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)

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