Like hostas, they provide both flower and foliage colour to accent the more shaded areas of the garden. Newer varieties have been bred to tolerate sunny locations, making these foliage perennials even more versatile.
Evergreen (in milder climates) and semi‐evergreen mounding foliage Coral Bells are native to the woodlands and are member of the Saxifrage family preferring good drainage in sun or shade. In recent years breeders have been developing them in a wide variety of showy foliage colours. Upright panicles of small bell‐shaped flowers, which are attractive to bees and hummingbirds, bloom in a range of creamy whites, pinks and bright red. They usually bloom mid‐spring through early summer. Some varieties are repeat bloomers. Heucheras provide year‐round interest to garden beds, borders and containers. They are also useful as ground cover plants.
In recent years there has been much effort towards breeding new varieties of the villosa‐type Heucheras, these varieties boast a greater heat and humidity tolerance that is especially useful in southern climates. Most are large structured and bloom in summer in an array of colourful combinations.
Heucheras are suitable for most gardens, being tolerant of a wide range of soil types from acid to alkaline and clay to sand. They prefer well‐drained consistently moist soil, not wanting to be waterlogged or extremely dry. Full sun to partial shade is preferred; Heucheras grown in deep shade tend to lose their brilliant colours.
To keep Heucheras looking their best, old flower spikes can be removed after flowering however it is best to cut‐back and remove tired‐looking foliage in spring. Heucheras can lift out of the ground over time, so lifting, dividing and replanting deeper with the crown just above the soil will re‐invigorate old plants. Mulch afterwards with a layer of organic matter to protect the plants.
Heucheras are not heavy feeders but will benefit from a light application of fertilizer in spring. Mulching with a layer of organic matter, careful not to cover the center of the plant, will also help protect from moisture evaporation and vine weevil larvae damage, which can sometimes be a problem. Heucheras are not plagued with attacks from slugs or snails.
Heuchera rust can be a problem for some Heuchera, especially those with yellow, gold or orange foliage. It is prevalent in cool, damp spring conditions with lack of air circulation, it specific to Heucheras and Saxifrage and does not spread to other plant types. Cutting back/removing the infected foliage together with an appropriate fungicide is the best control. Increased temperatures and drier summer conditions should retard the development as well. Do not water from overhead and water only during the day so that plants will have enough time to dry before night.