Plant labels should promote sales, says US expert

US-based Terra Nova Nurseries president Dan Heims said that he was disappointed with the Heuchera displays he has seen in UK garden centes.

In his masterclass on Heuchera and other genera in the Saxifragaceae family at Fairweather's open day he described how plant labels in the US include "recipes" on labels, suggesting planting combinations.

"That way, we can sell five plants instead of one," he explained.

Terra Nova Nurseries' promote heucheras by naming planting combinations, such as Metallic Madness, which uses Heuchera 'Obsidian', Begonia 'Fireworks', Athyrium 'Pewter Lace' and Heuchera 'Cinnabar Silver'.

"Heucheras work with so many different plants, for example, phormiums or cannas," he said.

Heims also suggested the use of heucheras in hanging baskets for good winter colour, which could be cut back in the spring, and as a possible cut flower.

He oversees the company's breeding programme, which has introduced more than 550 new varieties to the global market.

Heims explained: "Hostas were the shade plant in America but then, enter the Heuchera".

"H. 'Palace Purple' opened people's minds to heucheras as a foliage plant, so we started exploring the species."

Heims said future work for Terra Nova included producing "colours never seen before" and improving the Heuchera villosa group.


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