Coral bells, Heuchera sanguinea, are low-maintenance perennials for sun or shade, depending on where you live. They grow best in USDA Zones 3-8. They are very recognizable in the garden. Coral bells have beautiful foliage with tall stems of small, dainty flowers.
Coral bells grow from 12-24” tall and about 12” wide. They prefer full sun in the North and partial shade in the South. Plant them in fertile, moist but well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-7.0 for best results. They have tubular red, white, or pink flowers that appear on slender stalks in summer.
Plant them toward the front of your flower bed or shade border. Coral bells do great in mixed container plantings. Some companion plants for the shade might include, astilbes, hostas, and ferns.
Care and Planting of Coral Bells
It is recommended to plant them 18” apart in spring or fall. After planting, water them deeply and add 3 inches of mulch around, but not touching, the plants. Water them deeply whenever the soil becomes dry. Prune back in the fall if frost withers the foliage. In milder areas, leave the plant and prune back in early spring.
Propagation of coral bells can be by seed, but all desirable cultivars need to be vegetatively propagated. They may be divided in spring or fall every 3 years to maintain their vigor.
Pest and Diseases of Coral Bells
You may find such problems from powdery mildew, rust, and leaf spots.
The cultivar ‘Apple Blossom’ bears pale pink flowers, ‘Brandon Pink’ has coral-pink flowers, ‘Cherry Splash’ has green and gold leaf marbling. ‘Firesprite’ has red flowers, ‘Northern Fire’ has silver marbled leaves and bright red flowers, and ‘Pearl Drops’ has arching stems of white flowers that are stained pink.
Purple’leaf coral bells, H. Macrantha x H. Americana, is grown primarily for its colorful foliage. ‘Palace Purple’ has dark purple leaves and ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ is a deep maroon, and ‘Pewter Veil’ is silvery. You will find many colorful varieties with foliage that will vary in color.
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