The space under large trees is usually left unoccupied, so many people have a desire to plant something there. But here the problem arises of dry shade and not all plants can grow in such conditions.
Coral Bells can grow under pine trees because they have a shallow root system and need a moderate amount of water. To successfully grow them under a pine tree, use nutritious soil, mulch them with compost and fertilize them twice a year.
I’ll go into more detail below about the intricacies of growing under trees. Also, be sure to read the Complete Coral Bells Planting and Maintenance Guide.
Plant Coral Bells at least 2 feet from the trunk of the pine tree. This is to allow both plants to grow. If you plant too close, the pine trunk may crowd out the heuchera.
The best time to plant is in spring. Choose a cloudy day. Water the plant well before planting. You can also plant in September or early September. Avoid planting on the eve of winter and in summer.
Dig a hole three times the size of the Coral Bells root system. Use a sharp shovel. Chop off the small pine roots to make room. Do not touch the thick roots of the pine tree.
Place the shrub in the hole so that the stem is not in the ground. Backfill the entire space in the hole with nutritious and well-drained soil mix. You will learn how to do this in the next chapter.
To give Coral Bells a good start, you need to use a nutritious and light substrate. As a result, it will quickly take root and can survive under a pine tree.
To get the right substrate you have to use the soil from the digging of the planting hole. Mix it with 1-2 buckets of good quality and nutritious compost. Use only quality compost free of pests and diseases.
You can also buy ready-made soil mix for perennials. Similar substrates also work well with heucheras. Give preference to a proven manufacturer with good reviews.
Sometimes if the groundwater is high it is necessary to arrange for drainage under the bush. But in this case, you don’t need to do this because the pine roots will absorb all the extra water and you don’t have to worry about overwatering.
As I mentioned before, there is such a thing as dry shade under trees. To fix this drawback you need to water your Coral Bells regularly.
This should be done as soon as the soil is a little more than an inch dry. If you don’t water in time, nothing will happen, the heuchera will survive for 1-2 days without water. Also, there is usually little sun under the tree canopy and the plant will not evaporate very much water.
The amount of water should be plenty. You need at least 1-2 gallons or more for each bush. In this case, it makes sense to use drip irrigation.
Just put a drip hose around the shrubs and turn on the watering for a while. After watering, the water should soak deep into the soil. The whole soil around the roots should be moist but not boggy.
Overwatering and root rot are rare if you are growing perennials under trees. Large trees usually soak up all the extra moisture.
The next important point is feeding. Normally, newly planted Coral Bells do not need much fertilizer in the first year. But in this case, it is different, so you need to fertilize at the time of planting.
This will make it easier for the plant to take up the space it has been given and it will have a bit of a better time later on.
The best fertilizer at the start is compost and slow-release pellets. I already explained how to use compost in the chapter on soil preparation.
When planting heuchera you need to pour about 1 ounce of pellets under each bush once. The pellets usually last all season long, which means the plant will be covered all the way through the winter.
It is best to use a multi-purpose fertilizer with about equal parts of the three basic elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium).
A month after planting, water the heuchera once with a water-soluble multi-purpose fertilizer. This will give it even more of a boost to get it into its new location faster.
One last thing to be sure to do is mulch Coral Bells. Mulch can prevent water from evaporating quickly from the soil. As a result, you will need to water less.
The best mulch is organic matter. You can mulch with the same compost that was used to make the soil mix. In addition to other benefits, compost is also an additional fertilizer. But it is worse at preventing weeds from sprouting.
A second good mulch is pine bark. Choose a fraction of 1 to 2 inches. It will be great protection against weeds. Also, the bark has a fairly long-lasting life.
The layer of mulch should be 1-2 inches. Try not to mulch too close to the stem to prevent it from rotting.