Coral Bells: A Timeless Perennial Foliage Plant

If you’re looking for a perennial foliage plant that will never go out of style, consider coral bells. This classic plant has been around for years, and new varieties are being introduced all the time.

Coral bells make attractive cut flowers and are magnets for hummingbirds and butterflies. They grow in North America and can be found with green or variegated leaves.

Common Name Coral bells, alumroot, rock geranium
Botanical Name Heuchera spp.
Family Saxifragaceae
Plant Type Perennial
Mature Size 8-18 in. tall, 12-24 in. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Rich, moist but well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time Spring, summer
Flower Color Red, white, pink, orange
Hardiness Zones 4a-9a (USDA)
Native Area North America

Tips for Keeping Your Plants Healthy

  • Coral bells are easy to grow and are low-maintenance plants. They prefer partial sun but can also tolerate full sun, especially if the soil is kept moist.
  • The key to keeping your coral bells healthy is to make sure the soil is rich and well-drained. Amend the soil with compost or peat moss before planting and mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture.
  • Water regularly, especially during hot summer months. Coral bells are drought tolerant once they become established, but will benefit from supplemental watering during prolonged dry periods.
  • Fertilize in early spring with a balanced fertilizer or top dress with compost annually.

Lighting and Temperature

Coral bells will grow in partial sun to full shade, but prefer a spot that gets some morning sun and afternoon shade. They can tolerate full sun as long as the soil is kept moist.

Coral bells are hardy in USDA zones  four through nine and can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.


Coral bells prefer a rich, moist soil that is well-drained. Amend the soil with compost or peat moss before planting and mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture.


Fertilize in early spring with a balanced fertilizer or top dress with compost annually.


Coral bells can be cut back to the ground in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.


Water regularly, especially during hot summer months. Coral bells are drought tolerant once they become established, but will benefit from supplemental watering during prolonged dry periods.


Coral bells form clumps that range in size from eight to 18 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide. The leaves are round and hairy.

They are lobed, hairy and semi-evergreen or evergreen, according to the weather. Apart from the classic green-leaved Coral bells, the latest varieties come with leaves that are lime,


Coral bells produce tiny bell-shaped flowers that appear in the spring or in early summer on tall stems.

They are rich in nectar and the blooms are a magnet for the hummingbirds and butterflies, as well as are attractive cut flowers.

The flower colors include white, red, pink and orange.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Coral bells (Heuchera spp.) are grown for their colorful leaves and dainty bell-shaped flowers. These Shade-loving perennial plants are generally easy to grow and care for.

However, they can be affected by a number of fungal diseases, including powdery mildew, rust, and bacteria-related leaves spot.

While most of these diseases can be controlled with fungicides, it is always best to take preventive measures, such as selecting disease-resistant varieties or planting in well-drained soil.

Weevils and foliar Nematodes are the most likely insect pests to attack coral bells.

Black vine larvae weevil can penetrate the roots and crowns of coral bells in late summer or early autumn, causing the plants to lose strength and fall over. You will be able to identify the larvae in the plant, remove them by hand, and then destroy them.

If the problem persists, use a mild insecticide or Neem oil to treat your plants.

Propagating Coral Bells

Heuchera plants are short-lived perennials that are typically propagated by root clump division. Most gardeners prefer to divide the root clumps in the fall, though it is possible to do so in the spring as well.

Heuchera plants typically produce offsets – small plants that surround the parent plant. These offsets can be removed and replanted quite easily. When division root crowns are replanted, they should be barely covered in soil.

Heuchera plants have a short life span and should be divided every 3-4 years to avoid extinction. It is also possible to propagate mature Heuchera plants by removing the entire root clump in the fall or spring and then dividing it into smaller pieces with a variety of growth shoots.

The woody center section can be removed. When replanting, be sure to mix in plenty of peat moss and compost to create new planting areas. Plant the divisions again, barely covering them with soil.

Types Coral Bells

Heuchera, also commonly known as coral bells, are a popular choice for both gardens and potted plants. Heuchera are available in a wide range of colors, from deep purple to bright green, and their delicate flowers add a touch of elegance to any setting.

While most Heuchera species are fairly easy to care for, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to ensure that your plants thrive.

First, Heuchera prefer soil that is on the acidic side, so be sure to test your soil before planting.

Additionally, Heuchera require moderate amounts of water; too much water can cause the leaves to turn yellow, while too little water will cause the leaves to wilt.

With just a bit of care, Heuchera will add beauty and variety to your landscape for many years to come.

How often should I water coral bells?

Watering is a critical part of successfully growing coral bells. Established plants will tolerate occasional dry spells, but they will remain healthier if they are given an inch of water each week.

If you plant your coral bells in full sun, it is especially important to make sure they have a consistent supply of water. The shallow roots of these plants make them more susceptible to drought, so they may need to be watered more frequently during hot, sunny days in summer.

By following these simple watering tips, you can ensure that your coral bells will thrive for many years to come.

Do coral bells prefer sun or shade?

Coral bells are a popular choice for shade gardens. They grow best in partial or dappled shade, where they will receive some direct sunlight but also plenty of protection from the hottest rays of the day.

In too much shade, coral bells will become leggy and produce fewer flowers. They also prefer moist, well-drained soil and will struggle in areas that stay soggy for extended periods of time.

With proper care, coral bells will provide a lovely addition to any shaded garden. Their delicate foliage and bell-shaped flowers add a touch of elegance to any space, and their compact size makes them ideal for small gardens or border plantings.

So if you’re looking for a plant that prefers shady conditions, consider adding coral bells to your garden.

What is the best fertilizer for coral bells?

Fertilizer is essential for healthy plant growth, but not all fertilizers are created equal. When it comes to coral bells, the best fertilizer to use is a water-soluble or granular slow release mix of 5-10-5 or 12-6-6.

The numbers represent the proportion of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that are present in the fertilizer.

This balance is important for promoting strong root growth, lush foliage, and abundant blooms.

Additionally, organic ingredients like bone meal and alfalfa meal can be added to the soil to provide extra nutrients. With regular fertilization, coral bells will thrive and add beauty to any garden.

Do coral bells like coffee grounds?

Coral bells (Heuchera spp.) are beautiful, shade-loving perennial flowers that come in a wide range of colors.

While they are low-maintenance plants that are generally easy to care for, it is important to know what they do and don’t like in terms of soil and fertilizer.

One question that is often asked about coral bells is whether or not they like coffee grounds.

The short answer is that coral bells are not particularly fond of coffee grounds. While a small amount of coffee grounds added to the soil around coral bells won’t do any harm, too much can actually inhibit their growth.

This is because coffee grounds are very acidic and can lower the pH of the soil, making it less hospitable for coral bells. In addition, coffee grounds can stay moist for a long time, which can lead to fungal problems for these plants.

For these reasons, it’s best to use coffee grounds sparingly, if at all, when growing coral bells.

Where do coral bells grow best?

Coral bells are a beautiful and easy-to-care-for option for adding color to shady areas in your yard or garden.

They prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, and they will do best if they are given a semi-shady spot to grow in. Some of the hybrid cultivars of coral bells are able to tolerate full sun, but they will require more water than those that are grown in shade.

If you’re looking for a way to bring some color into the shaded areas of your property, coral bells are a great choice. With their vibrant blooms and easy care requirements, they are sure to brighten up any space.

Do you cut back coral bells for winter?

Coral bells are a beautiful addition to any garden, with their colorful foliage adding a touch of beauty from spring until fall. In warmer climates, they can even last through the winter months.

However, regardless of whether or not coral bells have evergreen leaves in your area, we do not recommend cutting their backs in the fall after the leaves have fallen.

The leaves of the trees protect their crowns throughout the winter, and by cutting them back you may damage the plant. Instead, enjoy their beauty throughout the colder months and wait until spring to give them a trim.

What kind of soil does coral bells like?

When it comes to soil, coral bells are pretty adaptable. They thrive in well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients, but they can also tolerate clay soils or rocky soils.

In addition, they are salt-tolerant, which makes them ideal for coastal gardens. If you’re dealing with heavy clay soil, you can improve drainage by altering the soil before planting your coral bells.

Alternatively, you can place them in an elevated bed. Regardless of the type of soil you’re using, it’s important to keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy) to ensure optimal growth. With a little care, your coral bells will thrive in just about any type of soil.

How do you keep coral bells healthy?

Coral bells are a beautiful and easy-to-care-for addition to any garden. To keep your coral bells healthy, start by planting them in an evenly-drained soil that is slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.0 to 7.0).

It’s important to not let the soil get too dry or too wet, as this can stress the plant and make it more susceptible to disease. Coral bells prefer light shade, but in colder climates they will do fine in more sun.

If you live in an area with very hot summers, it’s best to give them some afternoon shade to prevent the leaves from scorching.

When watering, be sure to use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system rather than spraying the foliage, as this can cause fungal problems. With a little care, your coral bells will thrive for many years to come!

Will coral bells come back every year?

The ability of a plant to comeback each year is annual. Coral bells, also known as Alumroot, Heuchera, or Coral Bells Plant, are an exception to this.

These bell-shaped flowers are perennial and will come back each year on their own. In fact, they grow so well and so fast, you might find yourself having to trim them back every few years!

Coral bells are a beautiful addition to any garden and their long-lasting blooms make them a favorite among gardeners.

So, if you’re looking for a plant that will come back year after year with little effort on your part, look no further than the coral bell!

Where do coral bells live?

Most people know coral bells (Heuchera) as the reliable perennial that provides low-maintenance color in shady gardens.

While it’s true that these plants do best in partial to full shade, there are actually a number of Heuchera cultivars that will also thrive in sunny sites.

If you live in north state, such as North Carolina, a site that has 3 to 5 hours of sun dappled each day is ideal.

Certain Heuchera are tolerant of the full sun, especially in the northern states so long as the soil isn’t dry for long.

In fact, Heuchera ‘Marmalade’ and H. ‘Lava Lamp’ are both listed as tolerating full sun exposure.

So if you’re looking to add some coral bells to your sunny garden, don’t be afraid to experiment with different cultivars to see which ones perform best in your particular site.

With their beautiful foliage and wide range of colors, coral bells are a versatile addition to any garden!

Jessica Miles

Jessica Miles is a writer for Botanique Boutique, a plant and gardening blog. She has always loved plants, flowers, and anything green. When she was younger, she used to watch her grandfather garden and would be in awe of the beautiful flowers he would grow. Now Jessica writes about all things related to plants and gardening - from beginner tips on how to start growing your own plants, to in-depth guides on caring for a specific type of flower or plant. She loves helping others learn about this fascinating hobby, and hopes that her writing will inspire people to get outside and enjoy nature!

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