Fifteen or sixteen years ago I bought a dark purple Heuchera, that despite all of the new introductions since, is still my favorite. It is misunderstood–often people say ‘Oh, that’s just like Palace Purple.’ Well it’s not. With more than 100 cultivars of Heuchera sp. on the market and a great variety of dark leafed and purple coral bells, what makes ‘Molly Bush’ special?
The large dark and highly textured leaves hold their color and it doesn’t poop out in heat and humidity of our New Jersey summers like so many others. Better yet, the deer ignore it–I know I’ve offered up next to their favorite hosta! It’s hardy in Zones 4-8, its pale greenish/white blooms are held on 30″ stems in mid-summer. Heuchera villosa var. purpurea ‘Molly Bush’ was hybridized and introduced by Allen Bush and named after his daughter. I bought mine from his mail order catalog when he still operated Holbrook Farm & Nursery. My ‘Molly’ has been moved, ignored, divided and still it performs.
The top-rated coral bells in the Garden’s trial were ‘Bressingham Bronze’, ‘Cappuccino’, ‘Molly Bush’, ‘Montrose Ruby’, ‘Palace Purple’ and Heuchera sanguinea ‘White Cloud’. Each of these coral bells received the highest marks based on good habit, healthy foliage, high flower production and winter hardiness. Heuchera ‘Molly Bush’ was the highest rated, with dark purple foliage and greenish white flowers from mid-July though early October and 80 percent flower coverage.
The biggest problem I have with this workhorse of a perennial is that I sometimes have difficulty finding it commercially for installation in my landscape design projects.