Growing Coral Bells

Coral Bells

Coral bells are bursting with colorful foliage which makes this plant a great addition to any botanical garden.

Coral bells are the common name used for many different species of plants that consist of hundreds of different varieties as well as hybrids that are also known as heucheras.

These evergreen perennials are native to North America and come in a variety of sizes ranging from 6 inches tall to 1 and a half feet tall with small blooms on a 1 to 3 foot tall stem.

Coral bells are virtually carefree perennials that are great for underplanting trees, growing along a border, in containers, and in raised garden beds.

Heucheras are well known for their mound of evergreen colorful foliage with some varieties being semi-evergreen.

Their mounds of colorful foliage will help to make any garden or landscaping pop with their green, orange, yellow, red, brown, silver, or black foliage that is ruffled or lobed in shape.

Unlike most other plants, coral bells are grown for the colorful foliage as a ground cover plant.

PLANTING CORAL BELLS

Coral bells have a crown where the foliage and blooms come out of the top of the crown and the roots come out of the bottom of the crown.

When planting, don’t cover the crown with soil or mulch because this will lead to crown rot and the death of the plant.

Heucheras are best planted in the early spring or late fall. They are a woodland plant that thrives in hardiness zones 4 through 9 and is a good choice for underplanting.

If the hardiness zone you are living in is lower than 4 you can treat them as an annual and collect the seeds for the next season.

Another option is to transplant the coral bells into potting containers and bring them indoors for the winter.

Coral bells are best planted 1 to 2 feet apart for optimal coverage.

When planting Coral bells, it is best to make the hole twice the size of the root ball.

Mix some compost in with the soil from the hole and fill it back in. This will put nutrients into the soil and help it to retain water.

They make a good companion plant along with other perennials or a container plant that thrive in a soil pH range of 6.0 through 7.0.

CORAL BELL USES

Coral bells can be used in almost any garden setting such as edging along a walking path, planted as a border, woodland garden, they can be planted in mass, underplanting trees, raised garden beds, or in a potting container.

FERTILIZING AND WATERING

Coral bells are best fertilized in the spring with granular fertilizer for roses or a homemade liquid fertilizer.

They require consistently moist soil and will need more water during dry and hot sunny days especially if it is windy.

This plant does become drought tolerant when they are well established.

MULCHING

Mulching coral bells will help the soil retain water which will reduce the amount of time it takes to water them.

The thickness of the mulch is best between 1 and 2 inches deep which will also help to keep the soil from being eroded due to heavy rainfall and exposing the roots.

The mulch will also help to prevent weeds from growing around your coral bells.

It is best to add new mulch every year as the older mulch breaks down.

BLOOMS

Coral Bell Blooms

Coral bells form a cluster of bell-shaped blooms that appear in late spring and they stick around through the summer with later blooming varieties available.

Their blooms are either orange, red, pink, or white on a stem that rises a few feet up from the foliage and they typically don’t rebloom.

To encourage continuous blooming remove the blooms soon after they start to wilt.

This is called deadheading and when the blooms are removed before they can produce seed, they will rebloom to try to produce seed.

Their blooms attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

PRUNING

Coral bells are a low-maintenance plant that needs pruning in early spring to remove any damaged or dead foliage near the soil.

It is best to do any pruning in the early spring instead of winter because they need the foliage to help protect the crown of the plant.

Remove any foliage that has been damaged or killed by the winter temperatures.

If you want the foliage color of immature leaves then you can trim no more than one-third of the mature leaves.

PROPAGATING

Starting seeds from ones that you have harvested from the plant needs a minimum of six weeks of cold weather or refrigeration before trying to sprout them.

Using a cutting from a leaf with about a one-inch stem, using root tone you can place the cut end on a paper towel and add the root tone.

Wrap the paper towel around the stem and place it in the soil and it should be ready for transplanting.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy to keep the cutting from rotting.

Every 3 or 4 years it will need to be divided by carefully digging the plant up with a spade or small shovel and gently separating the root ball into two.

PESTS

Coral bells have a few pests to be on the lookout for.

  • Black vine Weevils
  • Foliar Nematodes
  • Mealybugs
  • Japanese beetles

DISEASES

Coral bells have just a few plant diseases that they have to deal with and they are all fungal because of the dense foliage. Taking some precautions may help.

  • Powdery Mildew
  • Rust
  • Leaf spot

OVERWINTERING

Coral bells should be watered until the first frost. To help protect them during the winter months 2 to 3 inches of mulch or compost should be added.

VARIETIES

With a wide variety that offers different colored foliage, it can be hard to choose one variety for a garden or landscaping project.

DOLCE WILDBERRY CORAL BELL

Dolce wildberry is native to North America with glossy foliage that keeps its striking purple color throughout most of the growing season.

These ground cover plants are great for borders, growing as a mass, or growing in containers.

  • Shrub size – grows to about 1 and a half feet tall and 2 feet wide
  • Drought tolerant – no
  • Blooming colors – white blooms that appear in spring to mid-summer
  • Foliage – large scalloped purple foliage
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera wildberry

CITRONELLE CORAL BELL

Citronelle is a hybrid that was developed in France in July of 2002.

This coral bell is considered to be one of the most heat and drought-tolerant varieties compared to other varieties.

  • Shrub size – grows to about 1 and a half feet tall and 2 feet wide.
  • Drought tolerant – yes
  • Blooming colors – white blooms that appear in mid-spring on a stem that rises up about 14 inches from the ground
  • Foliage – bright yellowish green foliage
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera autumn leaves

TIRAMISU CORAL BELL

Tiramisu is native to North America where it is found growing wild in mountainous and woodland areas.

  • Plant size – grows to about 8 inches tall and 1 foot wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes
  • Blooming colors – white blooms that appear in late spring to early summer
  • Foliage – red or purple leaves that are bordered by green or completely green
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera tiramisu

CARNIVAL WATERMELON CORAL BELLS

Carnival watermelon is native to North America.

  • Plant size – grows to about 1 foot tall and 1 and a half feet wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes
  • Blooming colors – pink blooms that appear in early summer to mid-summer
  • Foliage – peachy pink foliage that matures to a bronze-green color
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera carnival watermelon

AMBER WAVES CORAL BELLS

Amber waves are a hybrid that can brighten up any dark area.

  • Plant size – grows to about 8 inches tall and 1 and a half feet wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes but moderate
  • Blooming colors – white blooms that appear in the early to mid-summer
  • Foliage – golden orange foliage
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera carnival watermelon

MIDNIGHT ROSE CORAL BELL

Midnight rose is a hybrid with some of the most unique foliage that starts off purple with pink markings or spots and fade to a creamy white color as the season advances.

  • Plant size – grows to about 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes but moderate
  • Blooming colors – white blooms that appear between late spring and early summer
  • Foliage – deep purple lobed foliage with pink markings that transforms into creamy white as the season advances
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera midnight rose

DELTA DAWN CORAL BELL

Delta dawn is a hybrid that will help to brighten up want an area with its striking foliage.

  • Plant size – grows to about 10 inches tall and 1 foot wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes but moderate
  • Blooming colors – white blooms that appear between late spring and early summer
  • Foliage – red lobed foliage with a green border around the edges of the leaves
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera delta dawn

FALL FESTIVAL CORAL BELL

Fall festival corral bell is a villosa hybrid with a tidy mound of foliage.

  • Plant size – grows to about 10 inches tall and 1 foot wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes but moderate
  • Blooming colors – white blooms that appear in early summer
  • Foliage – deeply lobed green foliage with a silvery covering and a red underside
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera fall festival

BERRY SMOOTHIE CORAL BELLS

Berry smoothie is a hybrid between villosa coral bell and Americana coral bell.

SPELLBOUND CORAL BELL

  • Plant size – grows to about inches tall and foot wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes
  • Blooming colors – pink and white that appear between late spring and early summer
  • Foliage – large lobed rosy pink foliage
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera berry smoothie

Spellbound is a fast-growing hybrid with the cultivar unknown.

  • Plant size – grows to about inches tall and foot wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes
  • Blooming colors – green and yellow blooms that appear between late spring and early summer
  • Foliage – silver with hints of purple ruffled foliage
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera spellbound

PINK PANTHER CORAL BELL

Pink Panther is a hybrid created by Walters Gardens to thrive in the heat and humidity east of the Mississippi River.

  • Plant size – grows to about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide
  • Drought tolerant – yes
  • Blooming colors – pink blooms that appear in mid-summer
  • Foliage – lobed foliage that is a metallic pink and matures into a dark purple with very dark purple almost black veins
  • Deer resistant – yes
  • Also known as – heuchera pink panther