Melinda's Low Maintenance Plant: Coral Bells

Low Maintenance Plant: Coral Bells

Need an easy care perennial that can grow in full sun to part shade?

So many beautiful varieties to choose from--how do you decide? Luckily, you can include lots of these low maintenance plants in your landscape as groundcovers and along the edges of perennial beds and mixed borders.

Grow these versatile plants in moist well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. The amber leaved varieties appreciate a bit of shade from the hot afternoon sun.

Water new plantings often enough to keep the top few inches of soil slightly moist. Once the plants are established, you will need to water less often. Water established plants thoroughly when top few inches of soil are crumbly and moist.

Further reduce maintenance by spreading a layer of shredded leaves, evergreen needles or twice-shredded bark over the soil surface around the plants. Mulching conserves moisture, suppresses weeds and improves the soil over time. This creates a better environment for the plant and means less work for you.

Although the leaves provide color throughout the growing season, the dainty flowers that rise above the leaves are an added benefit. They make great cut flowers and help attract hummingbirds to the garden.

During mild winters, you will find the leaves maintain their color. You'll appreciate the added color before the snow falls and as it recedes in spring. Just check plantings in spring for frost heaving. These shallow rooted plants may push out of the soil after a winter of freezing and thawing soil. Just gently push them back into the soil or reset to make sure the roots are covered.

Combine these beauties with hostas, ferns, fringed bleeding hearts, sedges, hakone grass, astilbe and other shade lovers. Or mix them in with sun loving perennials like sedum, salvia, Shasta daisies and ornamental grasses. Try planting a few bulbs in amongst the coral bells. You'll enjoy the added color and the coral bells' leaves will help mask the declining bulb foliage.

So, grab an empty cart, take a walk down the perennial aisles and start creating a tapestry of color in your landscape.


At a Glance

Name: Coral Bells (Huechera)

Size: 8 to 24” tall by 12 to 24” wide, depending on the variety

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Water thoroughly when top inch or two of soil begins to dry

Soil: Moist, well-drained

Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Low Maintenance Plant of the Month with you!