Sick Heucherella

I bought a Heucherella about 8 weeks ago from a garden centre, not only because it looked nice, but because it is famed to be generally disease and pest free. A few leaves were brown at the base on purchase, but this can be normal with potted plants. I tidied the plant up and transplanted with good compost and some bonemeal. The plant seemed to respond by spreading quite fast, but at the same time leaves kept turning orange brown, with shiny brown patches in the leaves which would then start to wilt. I kept removing the damaged leaves, but noticed that the initial spread was quickly being stunted by the disease and now the plant is shrinking as a result. I have looked up problems for the plant on the internet. It is not rust, because the brown patches are shiny within the leaf structure. No raised spots. I then found a picture of a diseased heucherella leaf on the internet and instantly recognised it as the same as my plant. It was bacterial leaf spot , Xanthomonas species. I then realised the web site was American and this disease is a common problem with Heucherella in the states. I have researched so many UK sites, but none mention bacterial leaf spot in the short list of problems that Heucherella can experience. As anyone else heard of it on Heucherella in the U.K?Nathalie S


  • I had a problem with a heuchera last year - a variety called Black Knight. The leaves turned brown and the plant just lifted from the pot - vine weevil grubs were the culprit.


  • Thanks for that Christopher and Christine. My heucherella is a green variety called Tapestry. I will dig around the roots and have a look.  I 'm searching for white grubs with brown heads? (correct me if I am wrong, I have never seen them before). If I find vine weevil grubs, what is the best way to get rid of them without damaging the plant roots further?

  • Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

    Hi Pebble, Would you believe I've just been reading an old gardening mag and there is an article about Heuchera rust. It says that there is a specific rust disease called Puccinia. I've never heard of it and haven't googled it yet but it is saying that it spoils the foliage and eventually weakens the plant. It then goes on to say to chop the plant down and spray it with Rose clear or Systhane fungus fighter.

    Article in Amateur Gardening mag 28th April. Going to google Puccinia now as I have a heuchera. Be handy to know.

  • Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

    Just popped back to send you this link.

    Hope it can help you,


  •  I find the best way to get rid of vine weevil grubs is to soak the root with Provado. It is quite expensive but a capful dilutes to a watering can full. I treat most of my plants in pots with this as I find it the only solution to kill the grubs - which do have a brown  head. If you remove the plant from a pot, wash the root and replant but make sure that you throw the old compost away as it may still have some eggs that have not hatched.

  • I agree over use of Provado can damage plants and I do only use it in spring and autumn.  I only use a small watering can to one capful - of course the larger watering can you use,  more of the liquid is  required but the instructions of dilution and usage are made clear on the packaging.  I have used nematodes but have a lot of plants in pots, including two auricula theatres so I prefer the Provado.

  • Thanks for your responses Christopher, Christine and Jean.

    I went out this morning and lifted the Heucherella and at first thought I had spotted some vine weevil grubs, but quickly realised they were white worms!  Not many, only about five of the small  wrigglers. 

     Anyway I checked the roots, all seem intact and no sign of grubs and to be honest I was quite relieved. So I have followed Jeans advice on treating the Heucherella for rust ( thanks for the web-link, very useful). I replanted the Heucherella with some fresh compost and root fungi and gave it a good dousing of seaweed tonic. I then proceeded with the drastic haircut and now wait to see if it grows back healthily. I have some Rose clear already in the shed to spray on the new growth when it appears. I will post the outcome


  • Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

    Christopher, I must be really lucky. I've got a sugar frosting heuch in a pot in the front. It seems to thrive on neglect as I often forget to feed and water it. It seems to keep most of it's foliage over winter as well but after reading everyones' advice I may plant it in the garden somewhere . It's a pretty little plant and I wouldn't want to lose it. Berry smoothy sounds nice.

  • Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

    Hmm. may leave it where it is now but will have to re-pot soon methinks . It's not been re-potted or top-dressed for 3 yrs. Best time to do this , Christopher, Now or wait 'till Spring ? image

    I like the sound of snowstorm. image

  • Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

    Thanks Christopher - I'll do it in Spring then . Probally will split it , think it may be about time.

  • I agree heucheras are a law unto themselves. I have several varieties in the ground. Caramel does well and also splits successfully.  I also have berry smoothie - in a pot - for its first year and it is beautiful! I hope to split it successfully, in Spring as mentioned by Christopher 2.  I am also glad that your plant did not have vine weevil, though I must admit I have never seen little white worms! Ever.

  • When potting plants I use multi purpose compost, grit sand to help retain moisture and slow release feed.  I also mulch with gravel but I put crock and then gravel in the bottom of the pot before planting to prevent the vine weevil getting into the pot from the bottom to lay eggs and thus enabling the grubs to attack the roots via the bottom of the pot.  





    Gravel in pots seems to encourage weeds so I am trying slate chipping with my Heucherellas. They lie nice and flat so hopefully will be fewer weeds .They are good for the bottom of pots too, helping drainage and giving weight to the pot.

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