From the tough, hardy breeding lines of Charles and Martha Oliver of The Primrose Path, we are proud to bring you Heuchera ‘Stainless Steel’. This is a medium-sized heuchera with silvery- metallic new growth. Each new leaf is almost completely silver, except for a thin tracery of dark veining.
As the leaves mature, the veining becomes much more pronounced and the overall effect is a cooling, sea foam green that will brighten up any shady spot. Mature leaves reach three to four inches across and have a contrasting underside of deep, eggplant purple. Stainless Steel has relatively large white flowers that are displayed on tall chocolate brown stalks, in loose panicles reaching 18 inches tall. The plant is a cross of a garden hybrid back into an unusual wild population of Heuchera pubescens, giving it the toughness of that wild parent.
I grew 4 small plants in my dry shade garden this summer and they handled the drought very well, even as small plants, not requiring any extra water- – unlike other selections I planted last year from other breeders. I can’t wait to see them emerge and perform again this spring!
Size: 8-12” tall by 20-24” wide
USDA hardiness Zones: 5(4) – 8
Sun/shade: Full to partial shade.
Soil: Average garden soil, well drained.
Moisture: moist, but well drained to get established, once established, it is very drought tolerant.
Disease and Pests: None known
Landscape use: Mass plantings, front or middle of the border, urban gardens, containers.
Market appeal / Uniqueness:Thick, celery green leaves have an overlay of silver with brightly colored eggplant purple undersides, giving this new selection a multi-dimensional look. This plant is heat and humidity tough and it can withstand the coldest winters. Strong purple stems hold 18″ cut flower quality bloom stalks with 8″ of sturdy, creamy white bells.
Propagation methods: Tissue culture, divisions.
Bloom time: Early May for 4 to 6 weeks.
I have grown Stainless Steel for two seasons now in my garden. I am realizing more and more each season why Charles and Martha chose to introduce this selection. This has to be one of the most vigorous selections I’ve ever grown in either my Chicago or my Baltimore garden. I planted 3 inch plugs in May of 2008 and we had two of the hottest, driest summers I have experienced in Baltimore in 2008 and 2009.
Much of the area experienced a very wet summer in 2009, but we missed most of the rain in Baltimore until September, when the deluge began. It seems as though it rained from then till the blizzards of 2010, but I’m sure I’m exaggerating.
Stainless Steel was evergreen in the garden both winters and the new foliage that emerges each April is nothing less than stunning. When planted in more sun, the leaves get a mauvy glow, but in part or full shade, they truly are, well, stainless steel – perhaps platinum would have also been a good name. The undersides of the leaves are celery green and the veins are a bright, pinkish-maroon. The overlay of pure silver is breathtaking, especially in morning sun.
In my opinion, this is one tough, beefy plant that tackles drought, too much water, too much snow and too much sunlight with an amazing attitude. It’s like it says, “Bring it on…I can handle it all!”
The only thing that could make this plant even better are it’s florist quality, creamy pink blooms. They certainly throw this plant to the top of my list for plants you NEED to grow.