Growing plants in pots is very different from growing them normally. This is especially true if you live in a cold climate.
Place potted Coral Bells in a spot protected from strong winds. Water no more than once a month if the winter is dry and be sure to mulch the heuchera.
In the following, I will go into more detail on how to properly prepare potted Coral Bells for winter and what to do with them during the winter. Also, be sure to check out the primary article How to Grow Heuchera Properly.
Place potted Coral Bells in a sheltered location
The first thing to do for successful overwintering is to choose the right place. It is best if you place Coral Bells where there is no strong frost wind, so it can be between two buildings or something similar.
The fact is that the frosty wind dries out the leaves quickly and the plant can suffer.
For the same reason, a potted heuchera should not be in full sun. The Winter sun can also damage it, so you need some shade in the middle of the day.
Another requirement for the overwintering location is that there must not be excess water. That is, the pot should get water from precipitation, but there should be no water from the roof or anything like that.
You do not need to bury the pot in the ground or wrap it with insulation. Coral Bells is a very hardy plant and can handle hard frosts without a blanket.
Don’t bring heuchera indoors
Never move a potted Coral Bells into a heated room. You will do more harm than good.
It is sometimes recommended that heuchera can be brought indoors for overwintering. Some websites even claim that you can grow it as an indoor plant.
These are all incorrect statements. Yes, Coral Bells can overwinter indoors and even grow, but for the plant, it would be exhausting. Nature has set things up so that plants have to stay dormant for a while.
Heuchera will survive one winter indoors, but the next one will die because of a disturbance to the correct biological cycle. Besides, why make life difficult for yourself if this plant can successfully overwinter outside?
Mulching is important for successful overwintering. Mulch is good for retaining moisture in the soil and the plant will not suffer from winter dehydration. In addition, the mulch can protect the roots a little against frost.
The best mulching material is organic matter. To be precise, you need to use either compost or pine bark. Pine straw also works well. Make sure the mulch is from a good manufacturer and is pest or disease free.
Spread a layer of mulch about 1 inch. Try not to cover the stem too much so that it is not constantly wet.
The mulch should be renewed once a year. If there is old mulch left over after a year, throw it away and mulch with new mulch.
Water before winter
In winter, plants are dormant, but that does not mean they do not need water. During thaws, Coral Bells is able to consume water in the right amount. But if there are long periods of frost in winter, it consumes internal water reserves.
To ensure that the heuchera accumulates enough water and does not suffer from a lack of water in winter you should water it regularly in the fall. Do this when the soil in the pot is about 1 inch dry.
Give at least 1 gallon of water to each plant. When you see water coming out through the holes it means there is enough water.
Always use pots with at least 4 drainage holes. Avoid using a saucer under the pot as this can lead to root rot.
Also, do not water in the rain. Finish watering around mid-November. Coral Bells usually do not need to be watered in the winter, but if the winter is dry, water it about once a month.
Remove the dead leaves
The next thing to do is to remove all the dead leaves. This is so that they do not rot and the plant does not become diseased.
Do not tear the dead leaves off the stem as you may damage it. Instead, gently cut off the leaf petiole near the stem.
Use sharp and thin scissors to avoid damaging the stem.
If you see other dead parts of the plant, remove them too.
What you don’t need to do is trim heuchera for the winter. Although many people recommend it, you might want to avoid it.
This is because if you cut back the Coral Bells, you will injure it. The wounds will not heal in time for the winter and during the thaw they will start to rot. At best the crown will rot down to the roots and possibly grow back in the spring.
But there have been cases where stem rot has destroyed the entire above-ground part of the plant and turned into root rot. As a result, the whole plant died.
If you need to prune heuchera, do it in spring or early summer.
Read more: Can You Plant Heuchera In Pots?