Versatile and profitable perennial

Increasing Profits - Heuchera

Wholesale plant breeder Walters Gardens (Zeeland, Michigan) is unlocking additional revenue in the fall through its Heuchera program, according to Laura Robles, regional product manager.

August 19, 2021

Expand revenues into fall with Heuchera.
Photos courtesy of Walters Gardens
Heuchera is perfect for combos.

“Heuchera are a very versatile perennial that have multiple seasons of interest and can also be used for multiple seasons of sales,” she explains. “The wide array of foliage colors, shapes and textures make this perennial a great compliment to a fall lineup, and many of them are the perfect shades of amber, purple, orange and black to invoke an autumnal vibe.”

Robles adds that Heuchera can be sold as “standalone crops that can be placed on a patio or walkway to complement containers of garden mums, or planted in combinations with other fall crops for a premium product for consumers.”

“And Heuchera is a great pivot crop for fall, since its foliage complements other more traditional fall crops such as garden mums, cabbage/kale, pansies and ornamental grasses perfectly.”

Of course, growers new to this variety will want to know how it can benefit their production cycles agronomically. Good heat and humidity tolerance, as well as some varieties thriving in low light, and even showing quicker production cycles compared to other traditional fall crops, top the list, according to Robles.

“If they are started when it is still hot and high light, the lighter foliage colors including chartreuse, green, amber and silver will benefit from 30-50% shade, and the darker colors including black, red and deeper oranges do well in a range of light conditions from shade to full sun,” she explains. “Heuchera also grow well at cooler temperatures, so they are quite adaptable for growing for a fall crop if temperatures drop before the crop is finished.”

Of course, none of the aforementioned benefits actually matter if today’s plant consumers aren’t interested in adding the crop to their homes or landscapes. Robles says the variety is growing in popularity and will likely continue to do so as consumers become more aware of them as an alternative fall crop.

“Heuchera have been gaining traction in the fall for decorating, and a Google or Instagram search for ‘fall containers’ will show them used in combinations with lots of other plants,” she shares. “They are very low maintenance and offer great color and texture through the fall, even tolerating light frosts.”

And, since they are a perennial, consumers can enjoy them for years to come, or even discard and buy a new one next year, if that’s what they choose to do.

“The only other thing I would tell [growers] is, with the greater demand for plant material over the last couple of years, to get their orders in sooner rather than later for next fall,” Robles explains, noting that as of press time, it is probably too late to start production for the 2021 season.