Heuchera, known as coral bells, provides the best of both worlds. Gorgeous, variegated foliage in every description of rich colors, and pretty bell-shaped flowers on graceful, summer-blooming spikes are the gift of these easy-to-cultivate perennials.
Choose a site with well-drained soil. The heuchera dislikes wet roots. Full sun to part shade is preferable but will vary depending on the specific cultivar.
Prepare the site by working the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Amend with organic matter to provide nutrients for the coral bells.
Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the roots with the crown just below the soil line. Heucheras must have crown-to-soil contact in order to grow properly.
Plant huecheras with the crown just below soil level and firm around the plant.
Fertilize with a balanced perennial fertilizer in spring to encourage active growth and summer blooms.
Mulch around heuchera prior to winter after the growing season to protect the plant from frost.
Dig and divide heuchera every few years to create new plants and revive the soil for new growth. Use a shovel to dig carefully around the root system and lift from the ground. Amend the soil with compost. Divide the mature plant, ensuring that each crown piece has roots attached to it, and replant each division 1 to 2 feet apart to allow for mature growth.
Enrich the growing soil when you plant Heuchera or with annual topdressings of organic material to boost soil fertility naturally. Use good quality compost or well aged livestock manure or a combination of the two. Apply a few pounds for each plant, each year or two. On poor soils, top dress every year or every other year on moderate quality soils.
Apply a slow- or fast-release synthetic fertilizer two or three times a year, according to the product label dosing directions and your climate. Look for a product with a guaranteed analysis of 5-10-5 or a similar high-phosphorous ratio to maximize bloom performance. Cast the fertilizer around the base of the Heuchera plant, several inches away from the main stems and nestle into the top 1/2 inch of soil.
Water in the soil amendment top dressings and fertilizer after each application. Drench the soil at least 6 inches down. Keep the soil evenly moist but not consistently wet to prevent root rot.
Coral for Flirting
Coral roses are not as intense as red roses, so they don't indicate the same intensity of feeling. They are a way to say, "You've got my attention."
Coral Means Desire
Coral roses can also indicate desire and passion. In some ways, they are just as romantic as red roses.
Coral for First Dates
Coral roses are a wonderful gift for a first date, since they express enthusiasm without going overboard.
Coral for "More than Friends"
Send coral roses to kick things up a notch. The coral rose is literally a mix of red and yellow, so its meaning rests between "I love you" and "you are my friend."
Other Meanings of Coral
Coral or orange roses are eye-catching and cheerful and can also tell someone "I'm proud of you," "good luck" or "good job."
Ensure the crowns of the coral bell plants are roughly 1 inch beneath the surface of the soil for best growing results. Adjust planting depth by adding additional soil or removing soil.
Prune away spent blossoms as the season winds down to clean up the plant and make it more attractive.
Add 3 inches of mulch over the root area of the coral bells in late autumn. Keep the mulch 3 inches away from the crowns of the coral bells to ensure the crowns do not decay beneath the mulch.
Remove the mulch in the spring when the soil warms and the growing season begins.
According to Sustainable and Urban Gardening, the best time to cut back heuchera is early spring, usually in March. This is also the time to divide plants that have become too bushy, woody or are too far above the soil level.
Sustainable and Urban Gardening recommends cutting the heuchera back to the ground with pruning shears. On the other hand, McKay Nursery Company recommends removing only the dead leaves and spent flower stalks as opposed to cutting the entire plant to ground level.
Heucheras grow spindly flowers that can detract from the beauty of the foliage. You can cut the flower stalks back without harming the plant. Heucheras may also grow long stems with leaves only at the very tip, which makes the plant look top-heavy and unattractive. Master gardener Ciscoe Morris says the only solution for this problem is to cut it back to 1/4 inch from the ground. The heuchera will grow back with plenty of foliage.
Organic material mixed with planting soil will provide the best medium for successful growth of coral bells. Plant in well drained, rich soil with the crown of the shoots at soil level. Most varieties prefer part shade, although some can tolerate part to full sun with extra attention to watering. Allow adequate space between heuchera and other plants to ensure air circulation, a disease-preventative measure.
As the heuchera grows, the crown of shoots will create taller, woody stems. Encourage growth by mounding organic matter up around the crown, or dig and replant the whole crown deeper to ensure crown contact with the soil.
Coral bells will begin to look spindly and form a dead-looking area in the center of the plant over time. Dividing the them will provide new shoots for planting and create a healthier mother plant. Dig up the heuchera and shake excess soil from the roots, then divide each shoot or clump of shoots with roots intact. Replant, allowing for up to two feet of growth for each new plant. Pushing the soil back with a shovel, slip the cutting in and pack with soil, then water.
Common plants that live in the ocean are seaweed, algae and sea grasses. Seaweed grows at the bottom of the intertidal zone or on the surface of the water. Algae flourish in the intertidal zone where water and land meet and in the open ocean. It's the main food source for most marine animals. Sea grasses are flowering plants that grow in coastal waters.
The dominant life form of coral reefs is coral, which consists of a plant and an animal living together in a symbiotic relationship. The plant part of the coral consists of algae called zooxanthellae. The animals are polyps. The polyps depend on the zooxanthellae's ability to use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into food. In return, the zooxanthellae use the coral's wastes for growth and live within the coral's tissue.
Estuaries are areas where the ocean meets freshwater streams and rivers. Dominant plants that grow here include algae, seaweeds and marsh grasses. A specialized tree called the mangrove tree, which has the ability to live in saltwater, grows in tropical estuaries.