Coral Bells – A Plant of the Saxifragaceae Family
Coral Bells are also known as alumroot and they are perennial plants. They can be found in several foliage colors like bronze, purple and more. They are bell shaped blooms and this is where they get the name from and their spikes are tall. They bloom from late spring to early summer. They come in variety of colors ranging from white and pink to light coral and deep red.
They are native to North America and belong to Saxifragaceae family. The biological name of coral bells is Heuchera. This plant has gone through revolutionary transformation from grandmother’s coral bells of years ago.
Heuchera was named after an 18th century German botanist Johann Heinrich. The common name coral bells are derived from nosing of the bell shaped flowers on swaying stems. In Catholic households, the coral red flowers came to represent Mary and white coral bell flowers were associated with the purity of Jesus also red flowering Heucheras resembled medieval Catholic household and got its name from it.
Uses of Coral Bells
- They are suitable additions to the edges of woodland or natural gardens.
- Coral bells are used for foliage contrasts, in cut flower arrangements and as plant partners.
- These flowers are also good for containers and also control soil erosion.
- These flowers are also used for groundcover.
- They are used in Patio pots or components in mixed containers.
- They attract birds and butterflies.
- Different varieties of coral bells are Caramel coral bells, Amber waves coral bells, Dolce blackcurrant coral bells, dolce crème brulee coral bells, dolce key lime pie coral bells, green spice coral bells, palace purple coral bells and pewter veil coral bells.
- Plant coral bells in afternoon shade to get the best leaf coloration.
- Purple leafed cultivars can tolerate more direct sun whereas yellow, amber and gold leaf cultivars are less tolerant of sun.
- They retain some leaves through winters and they are evergreen.
- They consist of over 50 species and there are many new varieties also.
- These plants require moist but well drained soil preferably enriched with compost.
- They also grow well in clay soils.
How to Plant?
- Select the site with full sun to light shade.
- Coral Bells can be propagated in spring by seeds or through cuttings.
- Division can be done in spring or fall every three to four years when the stems become woody.
- Seeds require at least a six week cold period prior to planting.
- Space the plants 1 to 2 Feet apart depending on the variety.
- Division is the best method for propagation.
Maintenance and Care
- Once the plant is established they require very little maintenance and also drought tolerant.
- Deadhead spent blooms if desired.
- Cut back flower stalks after the blooms fade.
- Deadhead the spent blooms to keep the blooms go longer.
- To prevent sun scorching of the foliage water the plants at its base.
- Amend garden soil with compost to improve soil drainage and aeration.