Caring For Coral Bells Plant


The clump-forming Heuchera Americana [HEW-ker-a, a-mer-ih-KAH-na] is a flowering perennial, often found growing in dry areas near rocky terrain in central and eastern North America.

Heuchera Americana belongs to the Heuchera genus.

Coral Bells aka Heuchera americanaCoral Bells aka Heuchera americana

The common names alumroot and coral bells are used for all 37 species in the genus.

Heuchera plants are part of the Saxifragales (saxifrage) family. 

The most popular plants in the genus include hybrids of the Heuchera Americana species. 

Coral Bells Plant Care

Size and Growth

Heuchera Americana is a small plant, typically reaching about 2′ feet tall and wide. 

The base of the plant includes a clump of heart-shaped leaves that are lobed and green, measuring about 3″ to 5″ inches wide.

While most varieties produce green leaves, some hybrids have purple or brown leaves. 

New hybrids are introduced frequently, offering a wide range of leaf colors.

The foliage is mostly evergreen. 

Cold temperatures may cause the leaves to lose some color, but the plant should survive freezing winters. 

Flowering and Fragrance

Heuchera flowers in late spring or early summer. 

It produces tiny bell-shaped flowers with open panicles. 

The flowers are greenish-white and grow from small, wiry stems extending above the foliage.

The flowers are not fragrant.

Light and Temperature

Heuchera Americana grows well outdoors in most parts of the United States. 

The plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9. 

It grows best in partial shade in warm regions, such as the southern United States. 

In cooler climates, it prefers full sun. 

The plant achieves the best foliage color when planted in the right lighting conditions based on the climate.

Watering and Feeding

Heuchera Americana is a low-maintenance plant requiring moderate watering during the first year or two of growth. 

If grown in partial shade, young plants may only need water once per week during the summer.

When grown in full sun, young plants require additional moisture. 

Check the soil every couple of days. When the top 2″ to 3″ inches become dry, water the plant.

After the plant matures, it may only require water as relief from extreme heat or periods of drought. 

Fertilizer isn’t necessary, but it promotes healthier growth and improves the condition of the soil. 

Use slow-release fertilizer granules scattered around the soil near the base of the plant. 

Add the fertilizer at the beginning of spring.

Soil and Transplanting

Grow Heuchera Americana in fertile, rich soil. It prefers slightly acidic or neutral soil with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0. 

Slightly loamy or sandy soil is fine. The main concern is drainage. 

If the soil doesn’t drain quickly and becomes waterlogged, add coarse sand. 

If the soil is too heavy, add compost or leaf mold.

Transplant in the spring or early fall when the plant isn’t blooming. 

Wait for a cool, moist day and carefully dig up the soil around the plant before trying to transplant it.

Grooming

Remove faded flowers to encourage new blooms. 

Prune the foliage as desired in the early spring.

How To Propagate Heuchera Americana

Propagate Heuchera Americana by seed, leaf-cutting, or division. 

Stratify seeds before sowing for at least six weeks in a refrigerator.

Start the seeds in starter trays with standard potting mix. 

Keep the soil moist and allow the seedlings to sprout before hardening them off and transplanting outdoors.

To propagate by division:

  • Dig up the soil around the plant and remove the root mass. 
  • Cut the root system into several pieces.
  • Replant the divided plants, spacing them out at least 2′ feet apart. 
  • Divide the plants every two or three years for continuous regrowth. 

Start New Plants From Leaf Cuttings

  • Take leaf cuttings in the spring. 
  • Remove a stem from the main plant. 
  • The cutting should contain several leaves.
  • Remove the lower leaves and dip the cutting in rooting hormone
  • Use standard potting mix or a mixture of perlite and peat moss. 
  • Stick the tips of the cuttings in the soil and keep moist until new growth appears.
  • When the cuttings take root and start producing new leaves, transplant outdoors.




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Heuchera Americana Pest or Disease Problems

Frost heaving may occur when the soil is exposed to freezing temperatures. 

Ice forces the soil to expand, causing the roots to be heaved out of the soil. 

To protect against frost heaving, add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant before each winter.

Powdery mildew may develop in areas with poor air circulation. 

Transplant the plant to a spot not blocked by other plants or structures. 

Other than frost heaving and mildew, Heuchera Americana doesn’t suffer from any serious pest or disease issues. 

It’s also non-toxic.

Heuchera Americana is invasive in some regions. 

It spreads easily, creating a dense mass of foliage. 

Avoid planting in areas where it may remain unattended, such as the edge of the landscape.

Suggested Coral Bells Plant Uses

The light, airy growth of this plant makes it a great choice for adding contrast in a rock garden. 

It also works well as a perennial border, edging plant, and a ground cover.

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