Heuchera Care Guide

copper coral bell foliage with white flowers
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Heuchera Care Guide

Planting and Caring for Heuchera: Expert Tips for Year Round Beauty

Heuchera, also known as coral bells, with its stunning foliage is a popular perennial plant. Available in a variety of colors and textures, it is a versatile addition to shady garden spots. If you're ready to cultivate coral bell plants that have year round beauty, follow these expert tips for planting and caring for heuchera. We’ll use the scientific name, heuchera, interchangeably with its common name, coral bells, in this care guide.

colorful foliage of heuchera in hanging planter boxcolorful foliage of heuchera in hanging planter box

Selecting the Perfect Spot

Heuchera thrives in partial to full shade, although some varieties can tolerate more sunlight. Choose a location with well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Heuchera also adapts well to container gardening, making it an excellent choice for patio pots and balcony containers.

Preparing the Soil

Before planting heuchera, amend the soil with compost or aged manure to improve drainage and provide essential nutrients. Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH level (around 6.0 to 7.0) for optimal growth. Loose, well-draining soil will encourage healthy root development and vibrant foliage.

Planting Heuchera

When preparing to plant coral bells, dig a hole that's slightly larger than the root ball, ensuring enough space for the roots to spread comfortably. Position the plant in the hole at the same level as it was in its nursery container. When planting in groups, space multiple heuchera plants approximately 12 to 18 inches apart to facilitate proper airflow and to accommodate their growth. Once positioned, gently backfill the hole with soil, making sure to eliminate any air pockets, and then thoroughly water the newly planted heuchera to help settle the roots into their new environment.

Watering and Maintenance

Ensure the soil remains consistently moist, avoiding waterlogging, particularly in dry spells. Applying mulch around the base of the plants aids in retaining moisture and preventing weed growth. Remove any dead or damaged foliage to promote new growth and divide overcrowded clumps every few years to rejuvenate the plants.

Sunlight Requirements

While heuchera prefers partial to full shade, some varieties can tolerate more sunlight, especially if provided with adequate moisture. Experiment with different locations in your garden to find the best balance of light for your specific variety. Avoid exposing heuchera to intense afternoon sun, as this can scorch the foliage.

Fertilizing Heuchera

In the onset of spring, apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or compost top dressing to supply essential nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant foliage. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers, which can lead to an overgrowth of foliage, potentially compromising the plant's coloration. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper application rates.

Protecting Against Pests and Diseases

Heuchera generally shows resilience against pests and diseases, yet it's important to monitor typical garden nuisances like aphids and slugs, particularly in environments with high humidity. Neem oil or insecticidal soap can help control infestations. Ensure good air circulation around the plants to prevent fungal diseases like powdery mildew.

By following these expert tips for planting and caring for coral bells, you can enjoy a garden filled with the stunning foliage and vibrant colors of these versatile perennials. Whether used as ground covers, borders, or container plants, heuchera adds texture and interest to any landscape. Explore Wayside Gardens for a wide selection of premium heuchera varieties and all your gardening needs.