Monday, February 18, 2008

Coral Bells, Where Have You Been All My Life?

I came late to the heuchera party. Eight years and two houses ago, I had some relatively ordinary green coral bells (a/k/a heucheras,) with deep pink flowers in a mixed border. I dug one to transplant when I moved. To my dismay, the transplant didn't survive three weeks in a pot and planting into my new garden that hot, dry August.

I forgot about heucheras for a while after that. There were so many other plants perpetually on my list. There were two more moves during that eight years, each of which meant building new gardens from scratch. I didn't meander back to heucheras until two years ago when I got a few Lime Rickeys and Obsidians.

In the last few years, the variety of coral bells available has exploded. The magnitude of choices in leaf shape, color, and variegation is nothing short of astounding. Add tiarellas (foam flowers,) and heucherellas to the mix, factor in new varieties available each year, and it boggles the mind.

I can't get enough of them. Their mounding habit, tiny, airy, spiky blooms, showy foliage, and willingness to thrive in my shady zone 5 maple-root-riddled garden have me addicted. They're great planted in the ground and in pots. And if their seasonal loveliness weren't enough to recommend them, many are even evergreen! It's grand seeing them peek through the snow blanket, adding interest to an otherwise mostly-dreary winter scene.

Working at a greenhouse, I get to scope out my spring plants during the fall planting frenzy. At least a few new varieties of coral bells will find their way into my garden this spring.


  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog recently. I have some coral bells in my zone 5 garden, too, but don't have enough shade to have too many. I agree, the new colors are amazing.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. Hi Carol,
    I wish I had a little less shade and more sun. My yard isn't suited for vegetable gardening since it's so shady.

    I've recently discovered garden blogs and am really enjoying reading yours.

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting!



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