Coral bells, or heuchera, provide a dense evergreen ground cover that also produces attractive blossoms in spring and early summer. The bell-shaped blossoms grow along tall flower spikes but they aren't the main draw of the plant. The foliage of the coral bell comes in a range of striking colors from deep purple to silvery green. Coral bells grow well in most climates as they are tolerant of high heat and freezing temperatures.
Plant coral bells in a bed that receives full sunlight or full morning sun and some afternoon shade. Grow the flowers in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter when possible, though some cultivars tolerate less ideal soils.
Water the plants when the top inch of soil feels dry or approximately one to two times a week in most beds. Moisten the top 6 inches of soil at each watering, which ensures moisture penetrates to the root zone of the plants.
Fertilize the flower bed each spring with a general-purpose, slow-release fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer at the label-recommended rate for the size of your garden bed.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over the bed in fall. Place the mulch around the plants but not over them. The mulch helps insulate the soil and protects the coral bells from cold damage. Replenish the mulch layer each year to maintain its depth.
Cut off the spent flowers in early summer with a pair of pruning shears. Dead flowers detract from the attractive coral bell foliage and there is no reason to leave them on the plant.
Things You Will Need
- Pruning shears
- If your coral bells become overcrowded, dig them up and divide them into more plants. You can divide the plants as often as every three years.
- In areas with hot, dry summers, coral bells do best with some shade in the afternoon. In colder areas, too much shade prevents flowering.
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