Hey everyone! Many of you have asked me about the correct way to plant Coral Bells. So, I’ve put together this article to share how I plant heucheras in my garden.
1. Choose the Right Variety
To successfully plant Coral Bells, it’s essential to pick the right variety. Some types can be quite challenging to cultivate and might be best suited for those with some gardening experience. However, there are also varieties that establish themselves rapidly and with ease.
If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest going for robust, larger varieties that adjust well to new environments. These plants store ample water and nutrients, helping them to easily overcome transplant stress.
Another tip for those new to heucheras is to opt for darker varieties. These Coral Bells are generally more tolerant of sunlight and can thrive in a wide range of conditions.
For beginners, here are some varieties I’d recommend:
- Palace Purple
- Dressed Up Evening Gown
- Forever Purple.
2. Selecting the Right Spot
The ideal spot for planting Coral Bells is in the shade. This location greatly increases your chances of successful planting.
While some Coral Bells can handle a bit of sun, I’d advise against planting them in direct sunlight unless you’re seasoned in their care. When exposed to full sun, their maintenance needs change, which can be tricky for some to navigate.
Ensure the spot you pick for your heuchera has well-draining soil and isn’t overly damp. It’s also a good idea to check the soil’s pH, which should ideally fall between 5.5 and 7.5.
3. Planting Time
I suggest planting Coral Bells in the spring. Once the chill of winter has passed and the warmer days are upon us, it’s the perfect time to get your heuchera in the ground. This window extends until early summer, provided the temperatures aren’t scorching.
It’s best to steer clear of planting Coral Bells during the peak of summer, especially in extreme heat or during drought conditions. Newly planted specimens can easily succumb in these circumstances.
Late summer to early fall presents another favorable planting window. The soil is still warm, but the sun isn’t as intense.
For optimal results, choose a cloudy and somewhat moist day to plant. If there hasn’t been any rainfall for several days, give your Coral Bells a good watering the day prior to planting.
4. Prepare the Planting Hole
Dig a hole that’s about twice the size of your heuchera’s root ball, both in terms of width and depth. This gives the plant ample space to expand its root system and flourish.
If you’re dealing with dense or poorly draining soil, consider adding some river stones at the bottom of the hole. This step promotes better drainage and reduces the risk of root rot.
Next, incorporate some compost into the hole, blending it with the existing soil. This enhances the soil’s texture and nutrient profile.
If you’re planting multiple Coral Bells, maintain a distance of 1-2 feet between each plant. To guide you, space the holes about 2 feet from center to center.
5. Place the Plant
The next step involves positioning the plant correctly within the hole. Ensure that the top of the root ball is even with the garden’s ground level.
Only the heuchera’s roots should be buried, leaving the crown exposed. If needed, place some additional soil beneath the root ball to achieve the right height.
Fill the remaining space in the hole with soil. Then, gently press down to compact the soil and add more if needed. The area surrounding the Coral Bells should be level, free from any dips or indentations.
Water the Coral Bells thoroughly. Ensure the root ball and surrounding soil are well-saturated, but be careful not to overdo it – you don’t want to create a soggy mess.
Afterwards, maintain soil moisture, ensuring it doesn’t dry out more than 2 inches deep. The soil near the roots should always remain slightly damp, never bone dry.
Stick to these watering guidelines for the first year after planting. Once the Coral Bells are well-established, usually after the first year, you can water less frequently since they have some tolerance to drought.
After planting Coral Bells, I suggest adding mulch. Mulching offers several benefits, including helping the soil retain moisture for longer after rainfall and keeping it aerated. It also suppresses weeds and enhances conditions for overwintering.
I prefer organic mulches, and personally, I opt for pine bark since it’s long-lasting. However, compost is another great alternative. When using compost, it not only acts as a mulch but also provides added nutrients to the plants.
Lay down a layer of mulch that’s 1-2 inches thick around the base of the plant. Be careful not to heap the mulch directly against the Coral Bells’ stems; leave about an inch of space.
Keep in mind that mulch needs refreshing occasionally, especially if you’re using compost. I’d advise against using synthetic mulches like plastic or the like. Not only are they unhelpful, but they can also be detrimental to your plants.
Read also: Caring for Coral Bells
8. Ongoing Care
After being planted, all plants experience transplant shock, and Coral Bells are no different. To minimize the effects of this shock, it’s essential to follow certain guidelines during the first year after planting.
- Firstly, watering is crucial. I’ve touched on this before. Ensure the soil and roots remain consistently moist, not allowing the top inch of soil to dry out. Water adequately so the soil is damp, but not soggy.
- Secondly, provide some extra shade. Temporarily shielding the plant can significantly ease its adjustment period. You can remove this shade after roughly a month.
- Once you notice new leaves sprouting on the Coral Bells, it’s time for some nourishment. I suggest using a liquid multipurpose fertilizer to water the plant. Make sure to do this no later than September.
- Bear in mind that after transplanting, plants are more vulnerable, making them easy targets for diseases and pests. Monitor your Coral Bells closely and address any issues as soon as they arise.
That wraps up my guide. Best of luck with your Coral Bells planting!