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How to Winterize Coral Bells

Winterizing perennials keep them in the best possible condition to survive harsh weather and ensures that they will burst forth with color in the spring. Give hardy coral bells a little help to get through the winter and to prevent damage to any surface roots. They will repay your efforts with lush foliage and their classic, nodding flower stems.

Remove old flower stems and wilted or dead leaves before the first frost date for your area. Leave healthy leaves to die off naturally; pulling them off can damage the crown of your plant.

Provide edging for plants exposed to wind or heavy water runoff. You can use stones, old nursery flower pots cut into 2-inch rings, strips of plastic cut from milk jugs or flexible lawn edging. Surround the base of each plant with a circle of edging approximately 1 foot in diameter.

Mound shredded bark or other mulch to a height of 3 or 4 inches over each plant. There is no need to cover all the leaves completely, but mulch should be deepest over the center of the plant.

Continue to water coral bells and other perennials during the fall if frost is delayed and the weather is very dry.

Remove the edging, if you wish, and loosen or scatter the mulch once the spring frost date has passed. New growth will push its way through any remaining mulch.

Winter Care For Coral Bells

Grow coral bells in soil that is well draining, improving the soil with 2 to 4 inches of organic matter, such as compost or chopped leaves, at planting time. Coral bells fare the winter much better when the soil is well draining. Water also helps the soil retain heat. This addition helps prevent the soil from heaving during the winter. Wait until spring when new growth starts, and cut back any damaged, dead or unsightly stems.

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