Also called Channel Islands coral bells, and Jill of the rocks, this evergreen herbaceous perennial is a member of the saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae, that also includes astilbe, tiarella, and bergenia.  It is endemic to the four northern Channel Islands of California where it grows on canyon cliffs in coastal sage scrub areas.  Plants grow 1.5-3′ tall from a rhizomatous root system, form a 2′ wide mound of dark green leaves that are marbled and may have a reddish tinge in winter.   Each  leaf is 3-5″ long, rounded, deeply 7-9 lobed with a fringe of hairs on the edge,  and is  carried on a long petiole.  From late winter into spring 3′ long  branched spikes of small pinkish flowers appear well above the foliage.  Each flower is hairy and glandular and has prominent stamens with large anthers.  The genus name, Heuchera, honors Johann Heinrich von Heucher (1677-1747) a botanist, physician, and medicinal plant expert at Wittenberg University, Germany.  The specific epithet, maxima, is the Latin word meaning largest.


Type: Evergreen herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Three foot long branched spikes of small pinkish flowers from late winter into spring

Size: 1.5-3′ H x 1-2′ W

Light:Partial shade

Soil: Average, medium moist to dry, well-drained; drought tolerant

Hardiness: Zones 9-10

Care: Deadhead to prolong bloom; divide every 3-4 years to retain vigor

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, division in fall

Companion Plants:Monkey flowers, California lilac, Coreopsis

Outstanding Selections:’Santa Ana Cardinal’ (hybrid with H. sanguinea; floriferous, free-flowering, long bloom time; rose red flowers)

Photo Credit: Stan Shebs Wikimedia Commons



By Karen