header image

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Coral Bells in a garden

by Cindy King, CPH, The Mill 

Heuchera commonly called Coral Bells or Alumroot are evergreen or semi-evergreen herbaceous perennials.  They have a woody root stock or crown, bell shaped flowers in spring that attract hummingbirds and are hardy zones 4-8.  They prefer full sun to part shade and a moist, loamy, organic soil that drains. They do best with a little mulch in the winter months when the ground is frozen as they tend to heave. 

There are over 50 species of Heuchera with 35 being native to North America.  There are over 500 varieties on the market today.  Colors of leaves vary from chartreuse to deep purple almost black.  Flowers are held over foliage in colors of red, pink, and white.  The flowers are small and tubular and a favorite of hummingbirds.  Most bloom late May into June and a few varieties bloom in the fall.

Mount Cuba Center's trial garden has done extensive research on 2 native cultivars and many hybrids of each.  They grew Heuchera villosa and Heuchera americana, and trialed for vein coloration, leaf margins, leaf color, how they performed in the mid-Atlantic area, and growth rate.  They determined that the darker leaved varieties hold up better in full sun, while the lighter color do best in part shade. This research is published on their website.

Heuchera should be divided every 3-4 years to keep plants tidy.  Remove winter damaged leaves in spring for a fresh look.

 

Heuchera can grow under Juglans nigra (black walnut) and can tolerate some drought once established.  They are great as a naturalized bed front. Heuchera also do well in pots and their leaves add great color to the thriller level. 

With the endless leaf variations there must be a Heuchera out there for you. 

          coral bell flowers               Huechera Coral Bells leaf  
  Coral Bells Heuchera burgundy leaf in pot




Also in Lawn & Garden Blog

Winterberry
Ilex verticillata or Winterberry

Commonly known as Winterberry, this deciduous holly flowers along the stem and develops brightly colored red, orange, or salmon berries in the fall. Native to eastern North America and typically found in damp...

Continue Reading

basket of evergreens & berries
December in the Landscape

One of the harbingers of the winter holiday season is our native Ilex verticillata or Winterberry Holly.  Glossy red, scarlet, salmon or gold berries cover the stems of these shrubs during the winter months. 

Continue Reading

Dwarf Conifers
Dwarf Conifers

Dwarf conifers are an excellent landscape plant for smaller gardensMost conifers are evergreen, so they provide year-round interest in the landscapeThey give structure to the landscape

Continue Reading