How to Plant and Grow Coral Bells

Coral bells used to come in a few drab colors, with small and insignificant blooms. Now they come in a whole rainbow of colors, with some varieties grown specifically for their masses of flowers. And they're extremely low maintenance. This perennial is hardy in Zones 3-9 and easily adaptable to either ground or container planting. New varieties of coral bells appear on the market nearly every year with improved colors, larger leaves, brighter flowers, and new patterns.

Coralbells Overview

Genus Name Heuchera
Common Name Coralbells
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Shade, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 6 to 30 inches
Flower Color Green, Pink, Red, White
Foliage Color Chartreuse/Gold, Gray/Silver, Purple/Burgundy
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage, Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom, Winter Interest
Special Features Attracts Birds, Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division
Problem Solvers Groundcover, Slope/Erosion Control

Where to Grow Coral Bells

Coral bells thrive in prairies, mountains, woods, and even more arid climates. Grow them in a location with partial shade, though they appreciate more sun in colder climates. Plant them in well-draining, humus-rich soil among trees and taller-growing plants since they tolerate less sun. Because they're low-maintenance, they can be planted in harder-to-reach locations that don't get as much care as other places.

How and When to Grow Coral Bells

Plant coral bells in late fall or early spring. They can spread up to 3 feet, so plant them a few feet apart. You can plant them in the ground or in containers. They'll do well in either situation.

In the ground, dig a hole about the same width and depth as the planting container. Remove the plant and loosen the roots a bit from the root ball before placing in the hole. Backfill with soil, tamp lightly, and water well.

Coral Bells Care Tips

Coral bells are extremely easy to grow as long as they aren't kept too wet. Many species are native to rocky cliffs and places with very good drainage, so they don't like sitting in water. Depending on the variety, some coral bells can perform well in either sun or shade, while others may burn in too much sun. Check the requirements of specific types before planting in full sun. Coral bells also grow well in clay soils.


Preserve coral bells' color by keeping them out of full sun, which can fade their blooms and can burn the leaves. Most of them do best in partial shade.

Soil and Water

The best soil for coral bells is well-draining, slightly acidic with a pH between 6 and 7, and humus-rich. If the soil doesn't drain well, coral bells can develop rot. Coral bells won't grow in clay soil. The shallow roots of coral bells will need more water in sunny spots. Keep soil consistently moist, though they can tolerate a bit of drought.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature requirements and preferences can vary from type to type for coral bells. Most varieties do fine with temperatures of 45ºF or above and may even flower in winter if it's warm enough. Lower temperatures will cause it to go dormant. If it gets extremely cold in your area, mulch will prevent coral bells from heaving during winter months.


Don't fertilize coral bells too much, because it will keep plants from flowering. Instead, each spring, add a 1/2 inch layer of compost and a sparing amount of slow-release fertilizer to in-ground plants, which should be enough. For potted coral bells, some water-soluble fertilizer in the recommended amount can be used to replace nutrients lost as water seeps out for drainage.


To keep coral bells blooming even longer, make sure to deadhead the spent ones. This may encourage the plants to produce a second wave of flowers. Some varieties will also bloom sporadically throughout the growing season.

Potting and Repotting Coralbells

Keep potted coral bells outdoors. This plant doesn't do well when grown inside. Use a container at least 10 to 12 inches in diameter with good drainage. Soggy soil can cause the leaves to yellow and drop off. You can plant coral bells in pots with other plants with similar light and water needs.

Pests and Problems

Coral bells are susceptible to black vine weevils and strawberry root weevils. Black vine weevils will eat holes in the leaves, and as with strawberry root weevils, can cause damage to the roots of the plant. If you see the larvae, destroy them, or use neem oil to rid your plant of these pests.

Fungal infections may include powdery mildew and bacterial leaf spot, among others.

How to Propagate Coral Bells

To propagate coral bells by division, dig up the plants with the root clump in tact. Separate the clumps and replant them, barely covering the roots with soil. To grow from seed, sprinkle across the chosen location in late fall or early spring, but don't cover with soil.

Types of Coral Bells

'Caramel' Coral Bells

'Caramel' Coralbells
Bob Stefko Photography Inc

An oldie but a goodie, 'Caramel' has withstood the test of time. Foliage emerges a soft peach color and fades to rich amber. Too much sun can burn these leaves, so make sure they have at least part shade. Zones 4-8

'Amber Waves' Coral Bells

'Amber Waves' Coralbells
Peter Krumhardt

Heuchera 'Amber Waves' has 8-inch mounds of wavy-edged leaves that are salmon pink when young, but mature to rusty gold with lavender overtones. In spring it produces loose spires of small pink flowers. Zones 4-9

'Dolce Blackcurrant' Coral Bells

'Dolce Blackcurrant' Coralbells
Justin Hancock

Heuchera 'Dolce Blackcurrant' offers rich purple leaves with splashes of silver, and grows 16 inches tall and 20 inches wide. Zones 4-9

'Dolce Creme Brulee' Coral Bells

'Dolce Creme Brulee' Coralbells
Justin Hancock

Heuchera 'Dolce Creme Brulee' offers bronzy foliage from spring to fall, and grows 16 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Zones 4-9

'Dolce Key Lime Pie' Coral Bells

'Dolce Key Lime Pie' Coralbells
Justin Hancock

Heuchera 'Dolce Key Lime Pie' features lime-green foliage from spring to fall, with clusters of pink flowers in spring. It grows 16 inches tall and 14 inches wide. Zones 4-9

'Green Spice' Coral Bells

'Green Spice' Coralbells
Peter Krumhardt

Heuchera 'Green Spice' has 9-inch mounds of scalloped, red-veined silvery leaves edged with gray-green. Dainty spires of white flowers rise above the foliage. Zones 4-9

'Palace Purple' Coral Bells

'Palace Purple' Coralbells
Mark Kane

Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' has 12-inch mounds of ivy-shaped, deep purple leaves with dark red undersides. These may fade out to greenish bronze in full summer sun. Panicles of tiny flowers bloom aloft in spring. Zones 4-9

'Pewter Veil' Coral Bells

'Pewter Veil' Coralbells
Hetherington & Associates

Heuchera 'Pewter Veil' has scalloped, rounded leaves of metallic silver with purple-gray veins and pink undersides. They form 12-inch mounds, above which tiny white flowers bloom in spring. Zones 4-9

Coral Bells Companion Plants


Purple Lungwort
David McDonald

In early spring, lungwort's brilliant blue, pink, or white flowers bloom despite the coldest chill. The rough basal leaves, spotted or plain, look good through the season and into winter. Lungworts are workhorses, placed close as a weed-discouraging groundcover or in borders as edgings or bright accent plants. Provide high-humus soil that retains moisture. Although lungwort tolerates dry conditions, be alert for mildew. Zones 2-8


Purple Astilbe
Karlis Grants

Astilbe brings a feathery note to moist, shady landscapes. In cooler climates in the northern third of the country, it can tolerate full sun, provided it has a constant moisture supply. In drier areas, the leaves will scorch in full sun. Plumes of white, pink, lavender, or red flowers atop divided foliage bloom from early to late summer. It will spread slowly over time when well-situated. Zones 4-8


Julie Maris Semarco

As long as you have some shade and ample rainfall, hosta is among the easiest plants to grow. Hostas vary from tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shaped leaves almost 2 feet long. Leaves can be puckered, wavy-edged, or variegated. Colors can be white or green, blue-gray, chartreuse, or emerald-edged. This tough, shade-loving perennial blooms in summer with white or purplish lavender funnel-shaped or flared flowers. Some are intensely fragrant. Hostas are a favorite of slugs and deer. Zones 3-9

Japanese Painted Ferns

Japanese Painted Ferns
Lynn Karlin Photography

Japanese painted ferns have unique silver and burgundy markings. Closely related to one another, Japanese painted and lady fern are sometimes crossed to create attractive hybrids. Unlike most ferns, these toughies will tolerate dry soil. They'll also tolerate some sun if they have ample water. Zones 4-9

Garden Plans For Coral Bells

Soften a Fence with This Border Garden Plan

Lush Border Garden Plan Illustration
Mavis Augustine Torke

Transform your backyard fence from a boring, blank space into a pleasing backdrop for a flower border.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do coral bells make good cut flowers?

    Yes, coral bells will do well in vases as part of a cut flower arrangement, especially where there's a need for filler.

  • Does wildlife like coral bells?

    Varieties that offer showy blooms, as well as fancy foliage, are much appreciated by hummingbirds. Bees and butterflies are also drawn to their bright, colorful flowers.

  • I haven't had luck growing coral bells. Should I try again?

    It seems as though every year, there's a new must-have coral bells on the market—it's hard to keep up with all of the developments in this family of plants. Whether it's improving their heat and humidity tolerance or winter hardiness, advancements continue. So if you've tried coral bells before and haven't had the best of luck, it's definitely worth giving them another try. Some older varieties simply lacked the vigor of the newer ones.

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