Native to North America
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Heuchera villosa is a low mounding evergreen wildflower with light green pubescent foliage. Leaves have 5-9 sharp lobes and are often described as “maple-like”. The foliage may be tinted with bronze or purple. Tiny creamy florets are held above the foliage in loose panicles. Plants thrive in moist rich woods in shade to part sun.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: Heuchera villosa is native from New York to northern Georgia and west to Arkansas and Missouri. In many states plants have only been found in a county or two. The greatest distribution is in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.
For the most part, plants are indigenous to rocky open woods, moist shaded rocky ledges and crevices of rocky outcrops.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 4-9.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Heuchera villosa has fibrous roots and a mounded rosette of attractive foliage. The leaves emerge in a dense spiral from a short central crown or caudex.
Leaves are coarse textured and up to 6” across with long slender petioles. Each blade is rounded with 5-9 shallow toothed lobes. Leaves are pubescent and velvety. They are usually a soothing green hue but are often tinted in shades of purple or bronze.
For several weeks in late summer and early fall, flower panicles are displayed on pubescent rust colored stalks.
The cream colored florets are about 1/4” long. They are bell shaped with prominent sepals, inconspicuous petals and exerted pistils and stamens. After flowering small seed capsules form.
The mounding foliage is usually 12-18” tall with 18” or greater spread. Flower stalks tower above to a height of almost 3’.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Heuchera villosa grows best in part shade or filtered sun in moist well drained humus rich soil.
Plants require good drainage and tolerate drought, heat and rocky soils.
Plants can heave from the ground during cold winters. In northern zones, the addition of winter mulch helps prevent this problem.
In garden situations, tattered winter foliage should be removed in early spring before fresh new leaves emerge. It is advisable to divide plants every 3-4 years to rejuvenate plants and remove dead and aging growth.
Plants are fairly pest resistant and foliage is unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
LANDSCAPE USES: Heuchera villosa is a lovely foliage plant that is best used as a Groundcover, Grouping or Mass Planting for a Shade Garden. This wildflower is also used as an Accent, Edging or Container Plant for Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Rock Gardens, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings, Perennial Borders and Wildlife Gardens.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try planting Heuchera villosa with Dicentra eximia, Carex platyphylla, Iris cristata, Phlox divaricata or Polystichum acrostichoides.
Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ or Heuchera americana could be substituted if needed.
TRIVIA: Due to its southern heritage, Heuchera villosa is acknowledged as one of the most heat and humidity tolerant of the Heuchera spp. It is one of the largest alumroots and is the latest to bloom. As the name indicates it is a pubescent plant with hairy petioles, sepals and leaves unlike its smoother cousins.
Hummingbirds and diminutive native bees seek the nectar.
Plants tolerate juglone and can grow well in the dripline of the black walnut (Juglans nigra).
For more information on this plant, visit the USDA PLANTS Database: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=HEVI2