The growing environment can vary greatly from one area to another. Many gardeners wonder what conditions their plant can tolerate
Heuchera can grow in clay soil if it is amended slightly. Pour half a bucket of soil conditioner into the planting hole and mix it with the native soil. This will make a good soil mix for this plant.
Next, I will tell you in more detail how to achieve thriving Coral Bells in clay soil. I also have an article for you on How to keep Heuchera healthy and vigorous.
Amend your soil
Heuchera can tolerate clay soil, but it would still be good if you add a little organic matter to it. Organic matter will make the soil more friable, better drained, and more nutritious. As a result, the plant will grow faster and be healthier.
The first thing you can use as a soil improver is a soil conditioner. This is usually made from plants and is very good for improving the quality of the substrate.
Compost also works well. It is a nutrient product created by the decomposition of plant waste. The main thing is that it should be properly prepared and free from diseases and pests.
You need to apply about half a bucket or a little more organic matter for each bush. As a result, heuchera will take root in such a soil mix quite quickly, and then it will easily be able to penetrate the roots into pure clay soil.
If you plant it in clay without first improving it, there may be some problems. Firstly, in rainy weather root rot can occur because the clay can hold a lot of water. Also, clay soil is usually poor, and as a result, the plant will suffer from a lack of nutrients.
The next improvement you have to make is drainage underneath where the heuchera is growing. As I mentioned before, clay soil holds a lot of water, but it is also possible that you have a high water table. In that case, drainage is a must.
Dig a hole three times the size of the root ball of Coral Bells and pour a bucket of water in. If after a few hours the water is still in the hole, the groundwater is too high.
Wait until the water comes off completely and fill the hole one-third full with pebbles. River pebbles of medium size work best.
Then you can plant the heuchera in the hole using draining soil. If you have done everything right the water will go below the root system and the plant will be fine.
Also, make sure that no rainwater flows near the heuchera. Water from the roof of the house, for example, should not run near where the plant is growing. If necessary, transplant the plant further away.
Watering in clay soil
You have to be very careful about watering heucheras in clay soil because it can stay wet for a long time after it rains. Even if the top layer dries out, it creates a dense crust under which the soil is wet.
Do a finger test before watering, if the soil is more than 2 inches dry then water. Use about 1 gallon of water for each plant.
Hosing down clay soil is not very convenient because much of the water will go to the side. So use a drip hose, just turn it on for a few minutes at minimum pressure.
Avoid watering in rainy weather because you can overwater the soil and root rot can occur.
Also, avoid watering in the winter because this is the time of year when the plant needs minimum water and the soil is usually wet in winter. The exception to this is a very dry, warm winter.
Feeding heuchera in clay soil is a must. This is due to the nutrient-poor nature of this soil. If you do not fertilize, heuchera can grow very slowly and the leaves may turn yellow.
A slow-release granular fertilizer is best for Coral Bells. Choose one with approximately equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply the fertilizer in early spring, following the directions on the package.
If you listened to my advice and added organic matter to the clay soil then the heuchera will also be provided with organic fertilizer for 1-2 years. This will also have a positive effect on its health.
You can also use liquid fertilizer for perennials in clay soil. Use it no later than mid-summer and no more than once a year. Avoid fertilizing in late fall and winter.
Read more: What Soil Is Best For Coral Bells?