Thursday, May 12, 2011

Plant Review - Coral Bells (Heuchera sp.)

In my lecture series, I am often asked what plants would work in the shade.  Coral Bells, also known as Heuchera, are one of my favorite plants for color in the shady areas of the garden.  This perennial grows well in full shade in East County and part shade on the coast. 
What makes Coral Bells so wonderful are the foliage colors of the many cultivars now on the market.  Two of my favorites are ‘Marmalade’ and ‘Palace Purple’ as seen in the photos above.  Coral Bells also have delightful little flowers that look like tiny bells growing on a thin stem.  These flowers are good hummingbird magnets, especially for shady areas that salvias will not grow in.  These flowers will last until mid summer here in San Diego and are also good cut flowers.
Another great feature about Corals bells is that they are a good drought tolerant plant for under mature trees.  Coral Bells will not tolerate poor draining soils, so amend your clay soil with Gypsum and Gro-Power (see my articles in March on that subject). These beauties can get about 24 inches wide and the flower stalks will reach 24 inches as well.  Trim the foliage once a year in the fall to keep the plant looking nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment