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December Plant of the Month – Hairy Alumroot – Heuchera villosa var. macrorhiza ‘Autumn Bride’

Our final plant of the month for 2021 is Hairy Alumroot – Heuchera villosa var. macrorhiza ‘Autumn Bride’. You’ll be able to see where it got its “hairy” name when you closely inspect its leaves – which are fuzzy with a velvet-like texture.

This plant is native to the state of Virginia and is more likely to be found naturally in the western or mountainous parts of the state. We have it in several of our garden beds at the Low Line Gardens and it earned a spot at the Low Line Green because it thrives in our urban landscapes! The plant has a clumping habit and spreads by stolons, providing ground cover in garden beds over time. Depending on the severity of winter it endures, it’s semi-evergreen or evergreen.

You might notice that it looks a lot like the commonly found variety of heuchera “Coral Bells” which is marked by a pink bloom. By contrast, the ‘Autumn Bride’ cultivar produces a white flower when it blooms in late summer. The flowers are beneficial to pollinators and after the flowers are spent, you can leave the stalks in place to provide some interest in your winter garden.

We chose this particular cultivar for the Low Line for a variety of reasons. ‘Autumn Bride’ is drought tolerant, more tolerant to shade, and better suited to the hot and humid conditions we see in our area than many other huechera varieties.

If you try to scout this plant out along the Low Line, make sure you bring a keen eye. We have a few similar looking plants in the gardens, and it’s easily mistaken for Foam Flower or Tiarella cordifolia.