Coral Bells

Coral Bells

By Jennifer Olvera, Garden Guides Contributor

About Coral Bells

Coral bells, a perennial plant, start blooming at the beginning of June and produce flowers through late August. Coral bells boast sprightly clouds of miniature, bell-shaped white, red, pink or coral spikes of flowers that sprout from wiry stems and low-lying foliage.

Best used as a border plant, varieties with variegated or dark purple leaves also are ideal for ground cover.

Site Preparation

It's best to plant or transplant coral bells in the spring or in the fall. Choose a site with good drainage and full sun.

Work the soil at least 12 inches deep. Dig a hole as deep as the container and a few inches wider on each side. Add a 2 to 4-inch layer of compost with all-purpose fertilizer mixed in.

After 3 or 4 weeks, additional fertilizer may be used if the established plant appears lethargic.

Special Features

Coral bells work well as a border plant, for cut flowers or as ground cover.

Choosing a Variety

Garden centers carry a wide variety of perennials that begin flowering in June. Consider plant and color combinations that are high-impact, play off of one another and work well, visually, with the rest of the plants in your garden.

Choose plants that have healthy-looking flowers and foliage. Avoid root-bound plants and those that appear to have been affected by insects or disease.

Planting

Plant in the spring or fall, and plan to space plants at least 1 foot apart. When removing plant from its pot, loosen the root system. After placing the plant in the ground and packing the soil around it, apply mulch around the base of the plant but not on the crown of the plant. Water thoroughly and regularly,but only as needed.

Care

* Remove dead foliage in early spring, and apply a thin layer of compost, followed by a thin layer of mulch, to hold in moisture and keep weeds at bay.
* Water plants weekly during the summer if there is less than an inch of water.
* Fertilize every 4 months with slow-release fertilizer or every few weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer.
* Deadheading coral bells helps to encourage and prolong bloom time.

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