FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ is a low mounding cultivar of the native hairy alumroot. This selection has lovely evergreen foliage with 9 shallow coarsely toothed lobes. The blades are flocked with an attractive velvety pubescence. In autumn the lime green foliage is the perfect backdrop for a bevy of attractive frothy white flower panicles. Plants thrive in moist rich woods in shade to part sun.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: The parent species, Heuchera villosa, is native from New York to northern Georgia and west to Arkansas and Missouri. In many states plants have only been found in a county or two. The greatest distribution is in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The species is indigenous to rocky open woods, moist shaded rocky ledges and crevices of rocky outcrops.
The cultivar ‘Autumn Bride’ was selected for its chartreuse foliage and showy white autumn flowers and introduced by Bluemount Nurseries of Monkton, Maryland. This is a vigorous variety with leaves and flowers that are larger than the norm.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 4-8.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ has fibrous roots and a mounded rosette of attractive foliage. The leaves emerge in a dense spiral from a short central crown or caudex.
Leaves are coarse textured and up to 6” across with long slender petioles. Each blade is rounded with 9 shallow toothed lobes and a cordate base. Leaves have a velvety pubescent vestiture and a soothing yellow-green color.
For several weeks in autumn, clouds of white flower panicles are displayed on pubescent stalks above the foliage.
The white florets are about 1/4” long. They are bell shaped with prominent sepals, inconspicuous petals and exerted pistils and stamens. After flowering small seed capsules form.
The mounding foliage is usually about 18” tall with a 3’ or greater spread. Flower stalks tower above to a height of almost 3’.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ grows best in part shade or filtered sun in moist well drained humus rich soil.
Plants tolerate difficult dry shaded sites. They require good drainage and tolerate drought, heat and rocky soils.
Plants can heave from the ground during cold winters. In northern zones, the addition of winter mulch helps prevent this problem.
Tattered winter foliage should be removed in early spring before fresh new leaves emerge. It is also advisable to divide plants every 3-4 years to rejuvenate clumps and remove stagnant aging growth.
Plants are fairly pest resistant and foliage is unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
LANDSCAPE USES: Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ is a lovely foliage plant that is best used as a Groundcover, Grouping or Mass Planting for a Shade Garden. This cultivar is also used as an Accent, Edging, Cut Flower or Container Plant for Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Rock Gardens, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings, Perennial Borders and Wildlife Gardens.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try planting Heuchera villosa’Autumn Bride’ with Chelone glabra, Dicentra eximia, Carex flaccosperma, Chrysogonum virginianum, Iris cristata, Phlox divaricata or Polystichum acrostichoides.
Heuchera villosa could be substituted if needed.
TRIVIA: Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ inherited heat and humidity tolerance from the parent species. ‘Autumn Bride’ is among the largest and latest blooming alumroot cultivars.
Hummingbirds and diminutive native bees seek the nectar.