Heavenly Heucheras

Saturday, December 23 , 2023

Long appreciated for their airy blooms - dainty candelabras of bell-shaped blooms on slender stems above rounded mounds of foliage - and their charming, care-free nature, native Coral Bells were gleaned from their mountain and woodland habitats to prettily populate shaded garden borders. Plant breeders took note of the hardiness, versatility, and beauty, and by combining the most attractive features of the originals (H. sanguinea, H. micrantha, and H. americana), developed a remarkable array of exceptional cultivars whose dazzling foliage colors and intriguing textures frequently overshadow the delightful blooms. Hundreds of varieties of this outstanding perennial are available today, with new introductions arriving every year. Equally wonderful out in the landscape or in containers, Coral Bells look fabulous planted en masse, and also combine and contrast beautifully with other shade-loving perennials. With the foliage remaining vibrant all year long, Coral Bells are particularly valuable to the gardener during winter, when there's little else adding any color or excitement to the perennial border.

Though the eye-catching foliage of some of the more modern hybrids may outshine the flowers, many Heucheras are grown specifically because of their alluring blooms and the charm they add to the perennial border. Held on long, graceful stems above the evergreen foliage from early spring through late fall in Northern California, these adorable, nectar-rich blooms are adored by hummingbirds and honeybees. They're extremely popular with florists too, as they're long-lasting, lovely, and captivating in any floral arrangement.
Best in zones 4-9

Caring for Coral Bells
Here in Northern California Heuchera are happiest grown in dappled, filtered light out of the hottest afternoon sun. Rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil and regular moisture tend to produce the lushest, healthiest plants with the most blooms, but many varieties are quite tolerant of poorer soil, and well-established plants are relatively drought tolerant. They're easy to care for, requiring little maintenance apart from deadheading spent flowers (all the way to the base of the stalk) after each bloom period, and removing any dead or ragged leaves in early spring and again in fall. Heucheras are light feeders though will benefit from fertilization in the form of a 1/2" layer of well-aged compost or Soil Booster applied as a side dressing in spring.

Rejuvenate your Coral Bells every 3-4 years when the centers become crowded with short, thick woody stalks. To divide, lift the entire clump, cut away the older woody root stalks, and replant the youngest growth. Water in well, and apply a half inch of organic Soil Booster around the base.

Check out some of o ur favorites here's just a few of what we're growing for you for 2024

'Delta Dawn' (available now)

With its wonderful, complex coloration - each bright golden-chartreuse maple-shaped leaf is highlighted with crimson veining and a bright red center particularly intense in spring and fall - and its cheerfull versatility, this vigorous perennial is a winner! Its tidy, compact growth habit makes it an ideal container, front of the border or edging plant. Delta Dawn grows 8" tall (12" in bloom) and 14" wide, with creamy-chartreuse flowers from spring through fall.

'Midnight Rose' (available now)

An intriguing variety with deep, dark, shiny deep mahogany-purple leaves spotted and splashed with hot pink markings as the new foliage emerges in early spring. These splashes lighten up to paler pink as the leaves mature, leading to a very intriguing plant indeed! The blooms are close to insignificant, but with such dramatic foliage, you'll hardly notice. A compact, yet showy perennial, reaching 10" tall and 16" wide.

'Paprika' (here now, and stunning )

Large, warm, glowing coral, ruffled foliage adds tropical appeal to your shady garden. Possibly the brightest orange leaves you'll ever see in your garden with color changes from bright rosy-orange in early spring to white-veiled orange in summer, finishing to a frosty copper in fall. A spectacular addition to the shade garden, with pretty, pale peachy blooms from spring through fall! 8" tall (16" with blooms) and 12-16 wide.

'Obsidian'
(available now)

Broad, glossy, rounded black leaves are among the darkest you'll find in the gardening world. Obsidian is a wonderful performer, retaining its vigor and rich satiny color throughout the seasons, with foliage that positively shines all year long which more than makes up for the almost inconsequential creamy-white blooms. Stunning planted in combinations and as wonderful in containers as it is in the landscape, showcasing any plants it's grown alongside. Reaches 10 tall and and 16" wide.

'Peppermint Spice' (available mid-spring 2024)

The most charming blooms ever! Tidy evergreen mounds of silver-veiled, burgundy-veined blue-green foliage provide the perfect backdrop to the wiry-stemmed airy panicles of showy, bell-shaped, bright pink blooms. Perfect for your shady perennial border or for edging walkways, stunning mass planted, and delightful in containers. Grows 8 tall and 12" wide, with the blooms topping out at a tidy 12"

 

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