Gardening

Add Coral Bells for the interesting foliage

Coral BellsAdd Coral Bells for the interesting foliageCoral Bells 6

Heuchera is commonly called Coral Bells or Alumroot.  They are native to North America and are a quickly growing family of beautiful perennials with many new cultivars and hybrids being introduced every day.  Predominately they are grown for their stunning foliage, but they do flower and my hummingbirds are very fond of them for nectar.

Cultural Requirements

Plant Category: Heuchera is an evergreen perennial.

Hardiness Zones: Coral Bells are hardy zones 4 – 9. A few cultivars can handle the heat and humidity of zone 11.

Bloom Time & Color: Coral Bells produce the graceful flowers that give the plant its name in late spring. The clusters of bell-shaped blooms will last for several weeks. Coral bell flowers are lifted above the foliage clumps on flower spikes that grow about 2′ tall.

Foliage: The foliage is one of the best features of coral bells.  The leaves are large heart-shaped or rounded leaves with striking colors and variegation patterns. Some leaves are very ruffled giving the foliage a rougher look that adds interest and contrast.

Growth Habit: The foliage grows in 10-12″ clumps and has a rounded growth habit that lasts until the longer flower stalks appear in late spring and summer.

Dimensions: Most coral bells grow between 1-3′ tall and 1-2′ wide. As with many plants, heucheras also have several smaller, more compact cultivars.

Preferred Conditions: Coral bells prefer partial to half shade but in colder climates would like full sun with humis rich, evenly moist and well-drained soil. Some Heuchera cultivars will tolerate a deeper shade.

Maintenance: Provide coral bells with winter mulch and deadhead to encourage repeat blooming through the summer. Pruning back the coral bells foliage in early spring to make room for the new growth can help it stay in better condition.  Divide every 3-4 years as needed.

Pests or Diseases: Heuchera plants don’t have many pest or disease problems. The biggest concern with coral bells is the possibility of frost damage where climates fluctuate, or leaf scorching, especially with colored foliage varieties, if planted in hot, full sun.

Propagation Methods: Heuchera plants are not as easy to germinate from seed as some other perennials and won’t self-sow readily in the garden. The best method of propagation is division.

Seasons of Interest: Heuchera plants have high interest in the garden all year; the foliage is evergreen for most gardeners and highly attractive. Heucheras also have interesting flowers that appear in late spring.

Uses in the Garden: Heuchera plants are well suited for areas of the garden where other plants may have difficulty; eastern and western exposures for example because of their ability to take some sun but be in shade for hours of the day as well. They also do well planted under shrubs and small trees because the coral bells foliage enhances other plants around them. With so many new Heuchera cultivars exhibiting dark, nearly black foliage, many gothic type gardens use these in large numbers.

Other Uses: Heuchera plants are attractive to hummingbirds and are also deer resistant. Coral bell flowers work nicely in cut flower arrangements and last over a week in a vase of water. Container Growing: Superb in mixed containers, where they prefer well-drained potting mixes without a lot of fertilizer. Keep the pots well watered in the summer but do not over-water in the winter. The pots will need some protection from cold winter temperatures.

Cultivars & Varieties &

Heuchera americana ‘Green Spice’: Silvery leaves with dark green edges and veining throughout making it a fantastic companion plant for anything. It grows about 10″x18″ with 2 foot flower stalks (flowers are white and nondescript) and the leaves turn a fabulous orange in autumn.

Heuchera sanguinea ‘Snow Angel’: Vivid bright green with light green marbling and stippling running through the large, heart-shaped leaves. Flowers are bright pink.

Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel’: ‘Caramel’ takes sun or shade equally well and produces lovely orange-red leaves.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Mocha Mint’: Vivid silver leaves and an abundance of pink flowers.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Amber Waves’: Compact cultivar that grows to 8″ tall.  The flowers are light rose colored and the leaves are ruffled and golden apricot in color.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Midnight Rose’: The leaves are deep purple, almost black, with hot pink specks and splotches throughout that grow lighter in summer heat. The light flowers are not significant and some choose to snip off flower stalks to encourage bushier foliage growth. The plant tolerates full sun in cooler.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Silver Scrolls’: A rounded leaf that is silver lined with deep purple markings. The flowers are white.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Black Beauty’: Leaves on this coral bell are highly ruffled and very glossy creating a deep shimmering effect.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Beauty of Color’: Leaves are green and purple. This coral bell stays evergreen nicely and in colder areas the leaves become orange rimmed.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Velvet Night’: Leaves are deep blue-purple and the plant can thrive in full shade.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Peach Flambe’: Foliage is flaming red-orange but matures to a summer peach and then to a deeper plum color in the autumn. The coral bell is a 7″ rounded clump of foliage until the white flower stalks appear nearly 16″ tall.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Lime Ricky’: the leaves are bold bright golden and lime green with snow white flowers.  This is an ideal accent plant for any partial shade area.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Peach Melba’: A cold hardy Heuchera with leaves that are peach with red and black markings. Plant tolerates full sun to deep shade and has cream colored blooms.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Ginger Ale’: Leaves are scalloped-edged, and heart.  This coral bell has silvery accents on leaves that blend well with other plants in the garden.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Crème de Menthe’: Hardy in zones 5-11 this coral bell cultivar can handle the summer heat and humidity. The foliage is dark green silver with striking veins.

Heuchera hybrid ‘Sparkling Burgundy’: Spring growth on this Heuchera is bright magenta-burgundy that darkens with the first frost. Coral bell flower stalks are purple-red spikes with white flowers

Heuchera hybrid ‘Obsidian’: Smooth black leaves in a 12″ mound are what make this plant so special as one of the darkest of all coral bells is that it keeps the dark foliage color all season. Heuchera hybrid ‘Plum Pudding’: Beautiful plum foliage with darker purple.  Plant prefers partial shade for best color.

Photos

Gardenphotos.com

Ricks Custom Nursery

16 Comments

  1. The plant breeders have really done a lot with these. I remember when there were only one or two varieties that weren’t much to look at. These are very useful in dry shade.
    New Hampshire Gardener recently posted..Here Today, Gone TomorrowMy Profile

  2. That’s a great news! The foliage is colorful and beautiful, I love it Thank you for sharing, Charlie.

  3. Enjoyed reading your in-depth article on Heuchera, Charlie. Nice to learn these are native. Just planted three of these yesterday and look forward to seeing them bloom.

  4. I adore heucheras and can’t get enough. I give them for gifts and buy them on impulse. There are so many sizes and shades of colours now and they are such a beautiful complement to every other plant. Some of the older varieties are also very resilient and can withstand difficult conditions.

  5. Heucheras are lovely and there are so many shades and variations of them now that you can always fit one in somewhere.
    Paula @ Spoons n Spades recently posted..It’s all happening now!My Profile

  6. Heucheras are one of my favorite generas in the garden. ‘Caramel’ really stuns everyone this time of the year. Good information on them!
    tina@inthegarden recently posted..Biltmore: Azalea, Tulip, Redbud and WisteriaMy Profile

  7. What advice have you for coral bells that won’t bloom? I have a few clumps that have performed poorly the past couple of years. I think they need to be dug up and separated, and I also wonder whether they’re getting too much sun. (Though they used to have a few bloom stalks.) They’re in a spot of the garden that gets sun from sunrise until about 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I’m in zone 5b.

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