The word “selection” comes from the Latin selectio, which means “choice, selection”. Selecting the best seedling from a huge number of seedlings is not an easy task, but it is even more difficult to create a cultivar that would have pre-determined qualitative characteristics that are not inherent in this type of plant.
Heucherella — child of breeding
“The future belongs to hybridization” – under this slogan, breeders of ornamental plants create new varieties that are qualitatively different from their counterparts. Perhaps this is how the famous French hybridizer Emile Lemoine argued in 1912. The first intergeneric hybrid between Tiarella and Heuchera was created by him artificially and named x Heucherella tiareloides.
In 1993, eighty-one years later, the Royal Horticultural Society (UK) awarded him the prestigious award and Diploma of Garden Achievement — AGM (Awardof Garden Merit). This award is given to plants that have exceptional characteristics for the decorative arrangement of the garden.
Meet the “parents” of Heucherella
Many flower growers recognize that Heuchera is a plant with a complex character, and it is not always possible to please capricious and wayward beauties, even after many years of experience in growing them. How to tame the shrew? The answer is simple, as in the famous comedy of Shakespeare, – find her a worthy partner!
It is no secret that most Heuchera have high, powerful peduncles that tend to lie down, especially during bad weather. Whether it’s a baby-Tiarella with low compact plumes of inflorescences on elastic peduncles that are not afraid of rain or wind. But Tiarella does not have such a variously colored bright foliage as Heuchera, but Tiarella is more refined in shape.
Tiarella rarely suffer from root rot, which most often appears in Heuchera after suffering stress from physiological desiccation in early spring. The deeper location of the powerful root system in the frozen soil does not allow Heuchera to fully function and deliver life-giving moisture to the evergreen foliage in time, which is why the fleshy shortened stems can weaken and begin to rot, affecting the rhizome. The compact fibrous root system of Tiarella is more mobile, and plants easily and without special problems cope with early spring frosts.
Combine the best qualities of these two wonderful plants, which can not be free cross-pollination in natural conditions, and which, in addition, bloom at different times, managed persistent hybridizers! And breeders still delight us with amazing novelties of hardy and unpretentious miracle-Heucherella with amazingly bright foliage of various forms, combining the morphological and physiological qualities of two worthy genera from the family Saxifragaceae.
How to distinguish Heucherella from Heuchera or Tiarella
The most frequent question asked by flower growers is how to distinguish Heucherella from Heuchera or Tiarella. Let’s try to understand this question on the example of those hybrids that grow in my garden, and find out what kind of character they have.
In size, in most cases, Heucherella is superior to Tiarella, but inferior to many Heuchera. Hybrids are so similar in appearance to Heuchera that you can distinguish one from the other only by inflorescences that are typical of Tiarella and resemble miniature panicles-brushes with star-shaped snowflake flowers on low stable peduncles.
Many Heucherella are characterized by abundant and long-lasting flowering. In early summer, snow-white or pink foam covers the flower beds with Heucherella with a delicate openwork. Mass planting of one or more varieties is especially effective. The flowering curtain of hybrids invariably attracts attention in any garden and leaves few people indifferent to the touching holiday of “fluffy bells”.
Unfortunately, the abundance of flowering does not bring joy to lovers who are passionate about growing plants from seeds. Hybrids do not tie seeds, their flowers are sterile. And this is another of the main differences between Heucherella and its parents.