Heucherella Companion Plants

Heucherella is a cross between the very popular and easy-to-grow coral bells (Heuchera) and the North American native Tiarella (commonly referred to as foamflower or foamy bells). The resulting plant has deeply cut foliage in a range of colors. It is also winter hardy and one of the lowest-maintenance perennials for USDA zones 4-9. The tall spikes of creamy white flowers are long-lasting on the plant and make great fillers for a cut-flower arrangement. 

Add groupings of Heucherella to the front of a woodland garden for added texture and color that lasts all season. The smaller size of Heucherellas makes them great for tucking into mixed planters either to fill gaps or to replace early blooming annuals. The strong shapes of the leaves and deep coloring can really help extend the interest of a container garden well into the fall. 


Photo by K M, unmodified, Flickr, copyright CC BY 2.0 DEED

Heucherella grows well in average conditions: well-draining soil that stays moist consistently. It prefers a pH close to neutral and appreciates high organic content. Mulching with finely shredded arborist chips or partially composted leaves is a great way to increase the organic content while retaining moisture in the soil. 

Shrubs To Plant With Heucherella

Heucherella makes a charming groundcover for early spring bloomers like Camellia, Rhododendron, Kerria, and Pieris. When it blooms later in spring, Heucherella adds texture and softness near shrubs like Hydrangea, Abelia, red twig Dogwood, and Hebe. Evergreen shrubs used for hedging such as boxwood, laurel, Chinese holly, and yew provide a lovely green background for the rich foliage colors of Heucherella. 

Perennials To Plant With Heucherella

Heucherella performs best in a woodland setting with rich, deep soil. Plants with similar growing preferences include ferns, hostas, elephant ears, and assorted Heucheras, which will add color and contrast to a shady site. Heucherellas that can handle more sun can be planted with daylilies, autumn-blooming sedum, and hardy salvia for contrasting leaf textures and flower shapes. Select plants that bloom at different times of the season to extend your garden display. 


Annuals To Plant With Heucherella

Several annual bedding plants will thrive in partial shade with Heucherella, such as polka dot plants, New Guinea impatiens, and Caladiums. These plants have a long blooming season and feature bright showy flowers. Heucherella is also useful for filling empty spaces when early spring annuals, like pansies and violas, finish and go dormant. A border of Heucherellas can also help wrangle taller annuals like zinnias, cosmos, calendula, and seed Dahlias, which can become floppy. 

Best Companion Plants For Heucherella in Containers

Heucherella works well in mixed seasonal planters as a ‘filler’. Its frothy display of flowers may be short-lived, but its ruffled foliage will provide a long season of color. Combine it with other dramatic foliage plants such as coleus and a bright sweet potato vine as the spiller plant. Heucherella also grows well in containers alone and can be moved about the garden to dress up any temporary vacancies. Individual plants require a pot with a one gallon capacity. 


Plants Not To Grow With Heucherella

Because Heucherella is on the smaller side, it should not be planted near vigorously growing plants such as mints, which can spread by underground rhizomes and eventually push the smaller plant out. Xeric plants such as agave, yucca, yarrow, and most larger ornamental grasses are also not suitable to grow with Heucherella. Continuously moist soil will weaken these plants, leading to a severe decline in growth.  

Best Plants To Grow With Heucherella

Choose plants that will grow in slightly shaded, moist conditions when designing a low-maintenance garden with Heucherella. Small ornamental grasses for shade such as Japanese forest grass, black mondo grass and Liriope make natural companions at the edge of a partially shaded garden bed. Also consider companions with an interesting foliage texture and color, such as coleus, hostas, and ferns, which stay showy all growing season. 

Sources“Plant of the week: Heucherella”. University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. uaex.uada.edu