How to Plant Heucheras

Overview

Often more familiarly known as coral bells, Heuchera is a low-maintenance plant that will add color to the landscape from spring until autumn. While the delicate pink, red or coral blooms of the Heuchera plant are lovely, it's the leaves that make the plant a real attention grabber. Depending on the variety, the big, showy leaves may be red, purple, black, brown, orange or silver, and often mottled or patterned.

Step 1

Select a planting site in full sunlight. If you live in a hot, dry climate, Heuchera should be located where the plant will be exposed to morning sunlight, but in shade during hot afternoons.

Step 2

Cultivate the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, using a tiller or a garden fork. Add 2 to 4 inches of compost and mix it thoroughly into the soil.

Step 3

Dig a hole only as deep as the Heuchera plant's root ball, but two to three times as wide. Allow 12 to 24 inches between each plant.

Step 4

Remove the plant from the nursery container and place it carefully in the hole. Be sure the top of the root ball is even with the surface of the soil. Fill the hole with soil and tamp the soil gently around the Huechera's roots. Water the plant deeply.

Step 5

Keep the soil moist, but never allow it to become waterlogged, as too much moisture can rot the plant's roots. During hot, dry weather, Heuchera will benefit from one deep watering of about an inch of water every week.

Step 6

Fertilize Heuchera every spring, using a balanced granular or liquid fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer strictly according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Step 7

Mulch the plant every fall to protect the roots from temperature changes in the soil. Remove the mulch in spring, along with any dead foliage. Apply a fresh layer of mulch to deter weeds and retain moisture. Leave a 3 to 4-inch margin uncovered around the base of the plant.

Step 8

Divide Heuchera every three to five years, or whenever the plant becomes overcrowded and dies down in the center. Dig the plant and divide the roots into smaller sections. Discard any woody, old sections and re-plant the remaining sections.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller or garden fork
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Balanced granular or liquid fertilizer

References

  • IntheGardenOnline: Heuchera
  • Sooner Plant Farm: Heuchera (Coral Bells)
  • National Gardening Association: Coral Bell Planting Guide
Keywords: coral bell, plant heucheras, fertilize heuchera, divide heuchera

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.