In nature, plants get nutrients from their environment. In the garden it is a little different, there is not as much organic matter, so the plant can suffer from this.
The best fertilizer for Coral Bells is slow-release pellets with equal parts of the basic elements. Fertilize the heuchera once a year in early spring and it will be nourished for the rest of the season.
Next, I’ll tell you more about how to fertilize and when it’s best to do it. Also, be sure to check out the Ultimate Coral Bells Care Guide.
Coral Bells does not have any special requirements for fertilizer composition so multipurpose products can be used. The amounts of the three basic elements can be approximately equal, e.g. 10-10-10 ( Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium).
A slight deviation from this formula is also possible. For example, manufacturers often make fertilizers with a little more nitrogen and potassium than phosphorus. This also works well.
What you should avoid is fertilizers with too much nitrogen. Because then the heuchera will grow very intensively and can lose its color (turn green).
As for the form, it is better to use slow-release granules. In this case, you need to fertilize once a year and it will nourish the plant for the rest of the growing season.
When to fertilize?
The best time to fertilize Coral Bells is spring. As soon as the plant comes out of dormancy it needs nutrients and if it gets them, it will be very grateful.
The good thing about spring is that most slow-release fertilizers last for 90 days. This means that heuchera will be fed all spring and summer. This is exactly the time when it grows vigorously.
As for the weather, choose a humid day. This is to make sure that some of the fertilizer starts working immediately. If the ground is dry, water the day before.
Avoid fertilizing a second time in midsummer because the fertilizer will last until the end of autumn, which is not good. Especially don’t fertilize in autumn and winter, otherwise Coral Bells won’t go into hibernation and will be damaged by frost.
All of the above recommendations are only valid for slow-release fertilizer. If you use a water-soluble fertilizer, you can apply it several times per season. Liquid fertilizers work quickly but their duration of action is usually short.
How to fertilize?
The amount of fertilizer plays a key role in fertilization. Usually, about 1 tablespoon of pellets is enough for one Coral Bells bush. Larger varieties may need a little more fertilizer.
Apply the fertilizer as close to the stem as possible, but be careful not to damage the roots. Dig a small hole near the heuchera and pour the fertilizer in, then cover the hole with earth.
Or scatter the pellets under the shrub and be sure to cover them with earth so that the water does not wash them away.
Also if you bought new Coral Bells in a nursery and want to plant them in the yard you do not need to fertilize them in the first year. The plants are usually well-fed in nurseries and this fertilizer is enough for the first year in your garden.
After fertilizing, you will need to water more because the plant will grow more vigorously and use more water. Check the soil constantly and if it dries out 1 to 2 inches, water the plant immediately.
In addition to mineral fertilizer is a good practice to use an organic one. The best organic fertilizer is quality compost. It is better to choose the one produced by a reputable manufacturer.
The first application of compost should be done when planting. Mix the compost with the native soil and plant the heuchera in this mix. This dressing will last 1-2 years.
When the compost disintegrates you need to reapply it. Gently loosen the top 1 inch of soil around the bush. Next, spread some compost and mix it with the native soil.
Next, spread a 1-2 inch thick layer of compost around the shrub without mixing it with the soil. This compost will slowly work its way into the soil and nourish the plant. It will also act as a mulch, which means it will prevent the soil from drying out quickly.
Avoid fertilizing too often or exceeding the recommended amount of fertilizer. If we are talking about slow-release fertilizer, you should not fertilize more than once a year.
If you over-fertilize, the first thing that will happen is the root system will get burned. Minerals in fertilizers are usually present in the form of salts, high salt concentrations can cause significant damage to the root system.
The second thing is that if you add a lot of fertilizer the heuchera will grow too fast, it will be soft and weak. It will also suffer from dehydration, which will cause the leaves to turn brown.
To correct over-fertilization, water Coral Bells once with a few gallons of water to wash the fertilizer from the soil. Do not fertilize it again this year. If the plant continues to feel bad, transplant it into fresh soil.