Compact evergreen clumps of roundish leaves with lobed or scalloped edges. A vast array are grown for their colorful foliage. Slender, wiry, 1–3-ft. stems bear loose clusters of nodding, bell-shaped flowers, typically 1/8 in. across or smaller. Dainty blossoms consist of colorful fused sepals and often lack petals; they are long lasting in cut arrangements. Color range includes shades of red to pink (attractive to hummingbirds) and less showy white or green. Bloom time varies by type from early spring to late summer; some kinds continue into fall.
Use in rock gardens or as groundcover, mass in borders or in front of shrubs, or use as edging for beds of taller perennials. They make good container plants, especially when combined with other perennials and even small shrubs.
Grow in well-drained, humus-rich soil. Will take full sun in cool climates, but in warmer regions they do best with afternoon shade or a northern exposure with open sky above. Divide clumps every 3 or 4 years in spring (or in fall in mild-winter climates). Use young, vigorous rooted divisions, or cut old woody stems to within an inch of the ground and let them regrow. Easy to propagate from cuttings started in sand in spring or from seed sown in spring. Strawberry root weevils chew on foliage, but these can be shaken off lifted plants. Mealybugs can damage base of plants; treat with insecticidal soap.
Most of these have as a parent H. americana, a species from the central U.S. that forms a mound 8 in. to 2 ft. high and wide, with leaves 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 in. across, marbled and veined. These varieties have been selected for their marvelously colored and sometimes ruffled foliage. Tiny summer flowers are held on thin stalks to 3 ft. high and are white to cream unless otherwise noted.‘Caramel’
Leaves emerge dusky red and mature through apricot tones to golden yellow.
Leaves are dark chocolate above, burgundy below; burgundy color also shows in ruffles on leaf edges. Purple blossom spikes and flowers.‘Georgia Peach’
Leaves emerge peachy orange and age through red tones to rosy purple; dark veins and a silvery sheen.‘Green Spice’
This herbaceous hybrid grows to 9 in. tall and 16 in. wide, and is covered with silver-gray leaves with purple veins. Foliage turns red and orange in fall. Cream-colored flowers rise to about 28 in.
Chartreuse leaves with ruffled edges.
Lightly ruffled leaves emerge purple and mature through mahogany tones to deep red.
Grows to 10 in. tall and 16 in. wide. Bright red new growth ages to shades of orange and rich reddish brown. Flowers are deep red.‘Moonlight’
Leaves are blackish purple with a silvery overlay. Pale green flowers are larger than those of many other hybrids.
Grows to 10 in. tall and 16 in. wide. Foliage is very deep burgundy—nearly black—with a glossy sheen.‘Pewter Moon’
Silvery leaves with maroon undersides; pink blooms.‘Tiramisu’
Chartreuse foliage is centrally blushed with red when young; with age, leaves turn mostly red, with a bright golden edge.
Vigorous plant to 2 1/2 ft. tall, covered in a haze of flowers up to 3 ft. wide in summer. The calyx i...
Native to Europe, North Africa. Probably best as multistemmed tree; grows moderately quickly to 7...
Compact growth to 18 in. tall and wide, with bright pink flowers.