Heuchera (Coral Bells)

         Carpet your shade garden with the jewel-toned foliage of heuchera. This amazing perennial comes in a wide variety of colors including chartreuse, red, bronze, orange, purple, green, silver, and bi-color (so there’s a perfect heuchera for every garden!). Plus, in late spring and early summer, heuchera sends up delightful spikes of small red, white, or pink bell-like flowers that give the plant it’s common name of coral bells. The flowers are hummingbird favorites, too! Heuchera forms a compact, 12 to 20 inch tall mound of color that works well along a border’s edge or pathway. Or, use heuchera in a container by itself or mixed with other foliage plants such as hosta and ajuga. Heuchera is also deer resistant. Hardy from zones 4-9.

Huechera make wonderful edging plants and put on a show when planted in groups. The foliage color is great for playing up the colors of nearby flowers. Darker purple leaves can make yellow flowers glow. Butterscotch colored leaves even bring out the tones of simple green leaves. Pair coral bells with lacy-leaved plants to highlight their form.

Heuchera prefers a shady or partially shaded location with rich, well drained soil. Feed the plants with a slow-release granular fertilizer in the early spring. Heuchera is relatively drought resistant, but does best when mulched to maintain consistent soil moisture. Cut back the entire flower stalk after flowering to put the plant’s energy into growing more leaves. Divide every three to five years to keep them from dying out in the center. If the leaves get a bit ragged looking, especially after winter, cut them back and new growth should fill in quickly.