Simple gardening hack for problem Heucheras

Heuchera problems Green Fingered Blog
Here is a simple solution to a problem with heucheras...

Heucheras are delightful little plants that add contrasting colours to any mixed border, or can be used to great effect in containers. They come in a range of varieties that offer a choice of coloured foliage from dark brown and purple to light green. 

Many heucheras have interesting patterns of coloured veins on the leaves too. They are mainly evergreen, and don't spread, making them a useful filler of all sorts of gaps, and suitable for a small garden as well as a larger one. They produce delicate small flower heads that hang above the main plant.

Overall they are a really useful garden plant, and consequently very popular in garden centres.

However, I've noticed a problem with mine.

Heucheras grow from a point in the centre of the crown of the plant, seen clearly here in the picture below.

Heuchera before Heuchera problems Green Fingered Blog
Heuchera with the crown raised off the ground

The problem is that over time, this growth on top of the crown grows up, and then year on year the growth point gets higher. This effectively raises the base of the plant off the ground. 

Over several years my heucheras have become far too elevated. They look odd and their customary appearance of leaves spreading out over the ground is lost, as the leaves hang down from this raised point and don't look nearly as good.

Heuchera problems Green Fingered Blog
The lower leaves that hang down from the raised crown don't look as good

So how do you return heucheras to their original habit of spreading gently from a central point on the ground rather than in mid air?

Simple gardening hack for a problem Heuchera

To find out I asked the experts. 

While I was at the RHS Cardiff Show a few weeks ago, I approached the stand of Heucheraholics, a specialist nursery in Hampshire run by Jooles and Sean. 

I asked the Heucheraholics about my heuchera problem and Sean shared this simple tip for restoring heucheras to their original form:

All you need to do if your heucheras have raised themselves up out of the ground like mine, is to lift them out of the soil and replant them, burying the lower section of leaves in the process.

What could be easier?

Home I went from the show, and dug up two of my heucheras. On lifting them you can see the mass of dried and expired leaves  underneath. They are holding the main part of the plant in this higher position, but are not needed, and not very attractive.

Heuchera problems Green Fingered Blog
The lower leaves cover a mass of straw like old leaves and stems

I replanted the heucheras by making the hole slightly deeper, so that i could insert them back in the ground with the growth point back at ground level, instead of its elevated position it was in before.

Heuchera after replanting Heuchera problems Green Fingered Blog
Heuchera growing from the ground again!

All the leaves are now growing up, rather than half of them hanging down, and hopefully it will take several years before they develop the same problem again.

The lower leaves that are now buried will simply decompose slowly but new shoots will develop from those points that are now just below ground, whereas before this was coming from a point several inches above the ground.

Heuchera after replanting Heuchera problems Green Fingered Blog
This heuchera should now grow as originally intended

So problem solved, and it was easier than I thought. RHS shows are a great opportunity to get advice from the specialists, and the Heucheraholics certainly know their stuff! 



  1. Great stuff! It really does work!
    At Heucheraholics we give everything a good chop back in spring. Don't do it in autumn as they need the foliage to cover and protect your plants for winter

    1. Thanks very much - great advice - I always leave as much as possible over winter as it protects the plants and helps wildlife. There's no need in most cases to cut things back until at least late February - when things start growing again.

  2. My dark red plants are fine but the pale green ones seem to have disappeared.Any suggestions,please?

    1. Doesn't sound too promising I'm afraid. You'd think they would have reappeared again by now. I suppose all you can do is gently dig down where they were to see if they are still there. If there is something then make sure the area gets plenty of light and they might yet spring back into action. If there's nothing there, then they must have succumbed to winter wet or cold and rotted away :(

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