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Featured Conservation Plants: March 2013

March 2013:
Heuchera ‘Burgundy Frost’ AGM



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This Heuchera has been in the HPS Conservation Scheme for about 10 years being one of the earlier introductions of this genera with darker foliage. The foliage is a lovely plum colour with silvery, marbled markings and it is fairly compact at around 30cm height and spread in the garden. Despite having an Award of Garden Merit and being an attractive plant there is only one supplier listed in the Plant Finder 2012-2013.

This feature plant profile has been provided by one grower in Monomouthshire and the other on the Isle of Wight. Our Monmouthshire contributor grows ‘Burgundy Frost’ in a container as well as in the garden. He has observed that plants grown in pots seem to thrive and produce a superb leaf growth with a great leaf colour. They also produce more side shoots and are therefore bigger and stronger plants. However, when grown in pots they do seem to be susceptible to attack by vine weevil.

Without a detailed experiment over a number of years he doesnt think he could state objectively that the plant grows better in pots. After all, our aim is to prove garden worthiness and if it only grows well in a pot then it is not garden worthy.

On the Isle of Wight the grower has only grown the plant in the garden in a raised border with good drainage (over thick clay). Despite some other growers comments about ‘Burgundy Frost’ preferring shade (see appropriate section on the website) it has been growing happily in a south-facing border where it appears to be thriving and has formed a neat clump. It provides a good contrast to silver-leaved plants and blends well with annuals and perennials that have plum-coloured flowers and comes highly recommended.

The biggest threat in terms of pests has already been mentioned above but it is worth emphasising that apparent lack of vigour/weakness in Heucheras always needs further investigation as vine weevils are invariably the culprits. They are quite capable of munching their way right up the stems as well as the roots. However, the good news is that Heucheras are relatively easy to propagate and once the vine weevils have been removed any stems with a bit of leaf may be put into a small pot of gritty compost or 50/50 compost and ‘Perlite’ where they should root.

Some Heucheras also lose vigour with age with the result being long, woody stems with a few leaves at the ends. One recommendation if you’re not interested in propagating it is to dig up the whole specimen, enlarge the planting hole (inspecting it first for signs of vine weevil) then drop the plant back into the hole, burying most of the long stems. These stems should then develop roots and more leaves in a tighter clump providing a more attractive plant in your garden.


The Conservation scheme involves HPS members in growing these plants and documenting the best way to grow and propagate them. The plants are distributed across the country with many local groups and individual growers being involved.

The scheme is open to all HPS members. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties that are, in our opinion, all worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, there are still a large number of potentially garden worthy plants in need of conservation.

If you are a interested in making this (or any other of our conservation plants) available on a commercial basis, please contact the National Coordinator.


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