Coral bells

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The genus of purple bells (Heuchera) belongs to the family of Saxifragaceae. Native of the purple bells are mainly in rock crevices and coastal forests of North America. The various species are usually winter-green to evergreen, horstig growing perennials.

Appearance and growth

Purple bells are extremely attractive. Their tiny, funnel-shaped bells bloom in abundance on branched long-stalked flower panicles and seem to float like a cloud above the compact eyrie. They bloom from May to July and are white, pink or red.

Blossoms of purple bells

The delicate flowers of the purple bells appear from May to July

In current varieties - mostly hybrids of Heuchera sanguinea and Heuchera americana (H. x brizoides) - the attractive, lobed foliage of purple bells is the actual ornamental value of the plants. Countless varieties are commercially available and new ones are added in almost every season. These impress with leaves in bright colors from soft to dark green, yellow orange to dark red, silver, violet and bronze to overblown brown. In addition, the leaves are often nicely drawn, their edges elegantly curled, apart lobed or ruffled. The smallest purple bells are 15 to 50 centimeters, larger by 90 centimeters high - measured in each case on the flower stalks.

Various foliage colors

Heucheras are available in a variety of foliage colors

Location and ground

Heucheras need a partially shaded or absonnigen location. If they are wet enough, purple bells can tolerate sun in moderation. They prefer a fresh to moist, loose, nutrient- and humus-rich soil, which should be slightly acidic and does not dry out too much in summer.


Place purple bells as deep as possible in the ground, as the root ball pushes upwards over time. If the rhizomes protrude from the soil, they are raised with bark humus or compost.

care Tips

Immediately after flowering, cut off the withered stalks as far as possible from the Heuchera near the ground. In the spring you remove the dry leaves. If you want purple bells to grow bushy, you should cut them back before sprouting. But it is best shortened in February to about ten inches.

Garden Silver Bell 'Palace Purple' (Heuchera micrantha)

A deep brown-red foliage and daintily white flowers characterize the garden silver bell 'Palace Purple' (Heuchera micrantha)

To keep purple bells vital, they are divided every three to four years after flowering in summer or at the latest in autumn. To do this, dig out the plants carefully, separate the bale with a sharp spade into equal parts and then place it back into the soil. You should improve the excavation directly with mature compost.

Hibernation or winter protection

Above all, the newer leaf jewelry of the purple bell are sometimes sensitive to frost. However, in rough conditions and snow-free winters, they should be covered with brushwood. Stand the Heucheras in pots, put them close to the wall and protect the vessels with fleece. In frost-free periods you should occasionally pour something; On sunny and icy days, it is recommended to cover the plants so that they do not get dry.

Purple bells in the pot

Purple bells are also great in pots


Purple bells are best seen in groups in the foreground of woody plants and in borders and make a beautiful bed with their closed, horstigen growth. They provide a beautiful ensemble in the shade garden next to funkies (Hosta), astilbe, cranesbill species (geranium), ferns and shady grasses. If you plant them close enough, you can also use purple bells as groundcover. Depending on the size of the selected variety, you place at least six copies per square meter. Purple-bellied bollards are suitable for planting pots and boxes on balconies located on the outside, where they also make for a beautiful sight in the winter with their colorful foliage. Also as a planting for not too dry, absonnig located graves, the Heuchera is well.

Important species and varieties

Recommended Heuchera varieties include 'Gracillima' (delicate salmon pink), 'Red Spangles' (scarlet) or 'Silver Rain' (white). Gorgeous colored foliage, for example, features the orange 'creme brulee' or the purple 'blackberry jam'. In addition to all these hybrids, two other species are offered: the garden silver bells (Heuchera micrantha) with reddish-brown, heart-shaped foliage that blooms white from July to August and grows up to 70 centimeters high, as well as the purple or purple crimson bells (Heuchera sanguinea), which blooms from June to July and reaches 60 centimeters in height.

Heuchera 'creme brulee'

Heuchera 'Blackberry Jam'

Heuchera 'Crème Brûlée' (left) and Heuchera 'Blackberry Jam' (right)


Purple bells are most easily propagated by splitting after flowering in summer or fall. They can also be propagated as spring cuttings of mature shoots in spring. These should be about 15 inches long. You put them in potting soil and cover them with a hood. After about six weeks, the cuttings have usually formed roots and can be transplanted.By seed only Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' can be propagated varietal.

Diseases and pests

Waterlogging often causes root rot in purple bells, which can be recognized by the fact that the plants only grow miserably and the earth smells musty. If the disease is discovered in the early stages, the plants are often still to save. To do this, plant them in a drier substrate, which is mixed with a little sand; a good drainage should be a matter of course.
Common pests of purple bells are weevils. Especially their larvae, which feed on roots and sprouts, make the Heucheras bother. They can be well controlled with biological nematode preparations. The nocturnal beetles can also be collected in the twilight

Video Board: Plant Care Tips : How to Grow Coral Bells (Heuchera).

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