In recent years coral bells (botanical name Heuchera(sometimes called alumroot) have become my favorite plant to add color and texture to the garden.
I find ways to add it to almost any flower bed or container I’m working on, and I’m consistently happy with the end result. More importantly, my customers are happy too!
I admit, at first it was hard for me to get excited about coral bells. I was not a fan of foliage plants as the main attraction. But I stopped by and started to love the steady and reliable performance of these plants.
When I exchange container material for customers, they often want to start with all fresh plants. That’s why I’ve accumulated a small army of Alumroot to name my own. I placed several varieties under different conditions and learned a lot about what makes coral bells happy.
And after reading this, you will too!
Tips for growing beautiful Heuchera
The main attraction of coral bells is the foliage. Most varieties are deep purple or burgundy, but colors from red to lime green are also available.
Heuchera have small bouquets of flowers that grow on a long stem or thyrse.
These flowers are delicate and colorful, but not very noticeable. And while they are beautiful and can give the plant a nice accent, the relative insignificance of the flowers really makes the foliage stand out on its own.
If you have a location that is a bit dry and hot, Alumroot is a reliable place to go to fill in areas excellent for xeriscaping and water-wise gardening.
Most Heuchera will grow USDA hardiness zones 4-9 and thrive in this middle zone 5-7. However, some can grow to Zone 3 in the north or Zone 11 in the south. I have seen Heuchera in the state of New York you look just as happy and healthy as the plants in Florida and Texas!
I went all summer without watering a particularly dry part of my garden just to see how different plants thrive, and the coral bells looked just as healthy as the day I put them in the ground.
Coral bells ring in your container is another smart choice. They grow well in containers and like to mix with other plants. The variety of colors available makes Heuchera a simple addition to almost any design.
Full sun or no sun, this plant doesn’t care!
I am confident of putting my coral bells in pretty much any state of light.
you are as shadow plants and seem to do their best with about 4-6 hours of sunlight a day, but I’ve worked with them in full sun and they are good and good.
You should review each variety to learn more about their preferred conditions. But in general, the darker colored coral bells can withstand a lot of sunlight, while the lighter varieties prefer the shade.
Like most plants, Heuchera All species prefer some shade from the hottest afternoon sunlight. So keep that in mind when laying out your planting.
Time for a drink
In my experience, Alumroot can do weeks without a drop of water and still look great. Of course when they get the water They are much happier and look much healthier than their drought-affected relatives.
Most of the people I’ve worked with say coral bells prefer moist soil all the way through (we’ll go into soil requirements in more detail next), and that makes this plant a great partner of Partial sun lovers like Astilbe and Hosta.
I use one with a layer of mulch for watering most garden beds … except for the experimental dry spot I have!
I think that about 1 inch of rain a week is enough for my shade-loving and moisture-tasting plants Heuchera. When the weather is particularly hot or my coral bells are in full sun, I turn on the water hose for about 30 minutes.
Now I’ve planted too Heuchera under conditions under which they never Be watered and they survive well. When I put together containers for customers who don’t want to have anything to do with a hose, I always use coral bells because the plants tolerate drought conditions so well.
Remember that you are happier and stronger with the right amount of water. However, if you go on vacation, you don’t have to worry Heuchera!
The best floor
In the wild, most alumroots grow in a forest area and are often rooted in crevices and steep slopes that offer good drainage. To make your plants happy, try to recreate their preferred natural environment as much as possible!
It starts with nutritious soil and full of organic matter. A composting twice a year is all you need to support Heucherain terms of fertilization.
However, Soil that is too heavy and full of clay would benefit from changes such as sand and larger amounts of compost before planting. Coral bells are not well suited for heavy, dense soils.
Since their roots are usually flat and fibrous, you don’t need to plant your alumroot too deep when buying potted plants. It’s rare to find a pot-bound plant, but if you do, don’t think twice about tearing down up to half of its roots to fit this plant in the hole.
That may seem extreme, but I plant hundreds of them a year and everyone responds well to this tough deal!
If you plant small clumps of mature plants, it will be harder for you to take them to the roots – unless they have enough roots at first. I throw mine in a free 1-gallon plant container and let it take root in a controlled environment before I put it in the garden.
Show me the seeds!
If you’re sowing seeds, you’re in luck they start inside before planting outdoors.
Fill a seed bowl with 1 part seed mix in combination with 1 part perlite and moisten the mixture with water to make it easier to work with.
Be stingy when you sprinkle the seeds over the surface of the filled tray – Heuchera Pods contain tons of very small seeds! – but do not cover them with earth because they need light to germinate.
A light spray with water is enough to fix them and finish the work. Seeds usually germinate in about two weeks.
Since they send out roots quickly, you should dilute and transplant your seedlings as soon as they develop a second set of leaves to avoid damaging the long roots during planting. Don’t worry, they’re damn hard and can handle it!
If you have the set-it-and-forget-it perspective, you can try sowing your seeds right in the garden in the fall. Enough should survive the cold winter and start to sprout in the spring to make your efforts worthwhile.
I only grew Heuchera from seeds indoors in a seed pan, so I can’t talk about the effectiveness of direct sowing!
Heuchera is not applicable to seeds, so planting in this way often results in mature plants with different colors than the parents. But who doesn’t like a nice surprise every now and then?
Collect seeds from an alumroot that you have grown in the garden by carefully removing the flower stems when the flowers are dry, but before the pods open. Alternatively, you can buy seeds (see below for more information on some of the options available for purchase).
Heuchera Heave, divide plants and remove leaves
So you’ve chosen your location, the perfect soil is there and you’ve made a leap into good irrigation practices.
With this in mind, we should talk about the tendency of these plants to “lift” in cooler climates in winter.
When the ground freezes and thaws, it tends to push alumroot off the ground, expose its crown, and make the plant look a little funky.
The solution is simple: if this happens, dig a new hole and put your plant back in when the soil can be worked.
Keep the leaves in place instead of trimming them over winter to provide a little extra frost protection when lifting.
If your alumroot gets a little too long-legged after a few years, you can easily divide the plant. I like using my floor knife for precision, but you could also pull lumps from you Heuchera Go out with bare (or gloved) hands after loosening the surrounding earth with a spade and start fresh in the ground.
Pests, problems and diseases
I have some problems with these plants in my clients’ gardens, but they are prone to some problems:
Fungal infection is one of these topics. These infections can be rust (rare in the garden, but often in greenhouses) and general fungal / mold conditions.
The best solution is to ensure that your plants have adequate airflow and drainage and don’t get too much moisture. When watering, do so around the base of the plants instead of spraying water on the leaves.
Bonide Natural Copper Fungicide on Amazon
Mushroom problems are more common in hot, humid weather. So keep an eye on your plants. Careful irrigation practices are usually sufficient to avoid fungal problems. However, if you want to detect and fix an infection, use it a copper fungicide like this.
I personally prefer Use chemical sprays in the garden As rarely as I can and only when I absolutely need it, I let most of the fungal problems persist until the weather is dry.
This practice requires a careful and attentive eye on your plants! It also depends on what you think is an acceptable loss in the garden.
If you go the natural way, you often have to remove damaged plant material. Sometimes it is necessary to throw whole plants in the trash when the situation gets out of control.
These are acceptable losses in my book, but if you are not convinced of this belief, you want to spray your plants carefully and regularly with this fungicide.
Weevils are the main pest to watch out for, but these insects tend to cause cosmetic damage that doesn’t require treatment. Nematodes can also be problematic for alumroot.
Recommended varieties (and where to buy them)
I’m a fool for the almost black varieties, a rare color in the garden that arouses great interest. But overall I’ve never met an alumroot that I didn’t like.
“Plum pudding in containers No. 1, available at Nature Hills
The variety “Plum Pudding” is beautiful – just look at the Venation! I have more of this plant in my garden than any other variety.
It reaches a modest height of around 30 cm and tolerates almost all lighting conditions that you have.
“Palace Purple” coral bells, available at Nature Hills Nursery
“Palace Purple” is another plant with darker leaves that I have seen in many gardens. Its subdued, reserved color is perfect as an accent for something like this an “elegans” hosta.
“Elegans” hostas in No. 1 containers, available at Nature Hills
You can also try growing “Palace Purple” from seeds https://www.trueleafmarket.com/products/heuchera-purple-palace-flower-seeds?variant=39803666632.
“Caramel” coral bells in containers No. 1, available at Nature Hills
This kind of caramel is nice because it has a color that works with almost every other shade in the garden. It reaches a height of around 16 inches. These plants prefer a shadier locale than their cousins with darker leaves.
“Georgia Peach” Coral Bells, available at Nature Hills
If you want to combine the lighter leaves of “Caramel” with the beautiful venation of “Plum Pudding”, Try the “George Peach”. It reaches a height of up to 30 inches and is more of a statement plant than an accent.
“Lime Rickey” coral bells in 5-inch containers, available at Nature Hills
The much more striking “Lime Rickey” is a great choice because if you need something bright but not obnoxious. I will combine these with Creeping Jenny in containers!
500 “Melting Fire” seeds, available at True Leaf Market
The & # 39;Melting fireVariety is quite typical Heuchera, but it differs from its peers in converting its foliage from fiery red to a deep purple.
1000 “Ruby Bells” seeds, available at True Leaf Market
“Ruby bellsHas green foliage, but gets its striking name from the deep red flowers that adorn the plant in full bloom. Remember that alumroot seeds do not always produce real replicas of the mother plant!
Until next time
Now you are ready to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of the Alumroot and add this excellent plant to your gardens and containers.
Although Alumroot generally prefers a shady location, it can thrive with proper care and attention in any condition. And for something more exotic than coral bells, experiment with the hybrid “Heucherella”, a combination of Heuchera and Tiarella.
In which combinations have you used coral bells? Let us know your questions and stories in the comments below. Thank you for reading!