Natives of North America, heucheras (coral bells) are garden favorites for good reason. Heucheras are hardy, adaptable, easy maintenance plants. These herbaceous perennials have clumps of leaves that grow in a low, mounded base from which delicate bell-shaped flowers hang on leafless 18-inch stalks. However, it is the spectacular foliage, not the flowers, that make a statement in the garden. Heucheras have foliage that is available in a rainbow of colors: plum, burgundy, gold, peach, chartreuse, mahogany and even a dramatic black. Whether planted in masses or standing alone, coral bells make a stunning addition to any woodland garden or perennial border.
Plant in either the spring or the fall. Heucheras planted in the fall will produce more flowers the following spring. Heucheras thrive in part sun to partial shade.
Plant in soil that drains well and is rich in organic matter. Because heucheras have very shallow roots, they may be successfully planted under trees, where they will not compete for nourishment.
Mulch newly planted heucheras with 1 to 2 inches of organic material to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Heuchera are not heavy feeders and the decomposing mulch will provide them with the nutrients they need.
Keep soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. Water thoroughly, about 1inch per week. Plants in sunnier locations may need to be watered more frequently, particularly during prolonged dry spells. Check the soil before watering again. It is better to let them dry out a little between watering rather than have the shallow roots become waterlogged.
Remove spent flowers and stems to prolong the blooming period. Heucheras bloom from mid-spring through mid-summer, depending on the variety. In the fall, cut any remaining stems back close to the foliage base.
Apply mulch again as soon as the ground has frozen to keep plant from being heaved above ground by periods of freezing and thawing. Organic compost or evergreen boughs make an effective winter mulch.
Divide established plants every three or four years.
Things You Will Need
- heuchera plants
- Heucheras make excellent cutting flowers. For arrangements, cut flower spikes when half the blossoms have opened. Cut early in the morning or in the evening. Cut flowers last about a week.
- Heucheras are a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds. The birds are especially attracted to varieties with pink or red flowers.
- Heucheras are evergreen. The attractive foliage provides interest even during the winter months.
- Columbines and astilbes are good planting companions for heucheras. Hostas and ferns are good choices for shadier beds.
- Heucheras are hardy plants that are resistant to most disease and insect attacks. Root weevil infestations can inflict serious damage if left unchecked. Beneficial predatory nematodes are an effective defense against these tiny beetles. Follow label directions carefully.