Coral Bells (Heuchera) are perennial plants that grow best in a shady setting but can tolerate full sun.
These easy-to-grow plants are winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4-8.
They like well-draining soil, soak and dry watering, and room to grow.
When you plant new plants, they should be between 1’ and 2’ feet apart. When they spread and become crowded, divide and separate them.
Be advised that they do not grow true from seed, so division is the best way to propagate Heuchera.
Coral Bells are usually considered a companion plant because these hardy perennials come in various colors and do well in many settings.
This article explores the use of Heuchera in almost any ornamental garden or planter.
Read on to learn more.
Coral Bells Can Keep Their Own Company Beautifully
There are about 50 varieties of Heuchera, and they range significantly in foliage colors and patterns.
Their flowers are small and bell-like and rise above the foliage on stalks.
Some of the most popular types of Heuchera are:
- Caramel is lovely in shades of brown and orange, making it perfect in autumn.
- Marmalade has strikingly bright reddish-bronze leaves.
- Heuchera villosa has pale, pretty yellow-green leaves.
- Obsidian has dramatic purplish-black foliage.
- Green Spice is an attractive variegated type.
- Palace Purple has lovely deep bronze leaves.
8 Top Choices In Coral Bells Companion Plants
Clearly, with the many choices in Heuchera, finding companion plants is an easy task.
You could create a varied, interesting ornamental garden with nothing but Coral Bells in various shades and colors.
You can also combine Heuchera with any shade-loving plant that likes well-draining soil and soak and dry watering.
Luckily, those conditions are ideal for many types of plants.
Here are some of the excellent companion plants for coral bells:
Ferns of all sorts do well in shady settings with well-draining soil and soak and dry watering.
When choosing ferns to accompany your Heuchera, your primary consideration is climate. Be sure to select a variety that is winter hardy in your area.
Most ferns like soil that is slightly acidic and enriched with organic compost. These conditions are also acceptable for Heuchera.
Keep the soil slightly moist after planting your ferns and until they are well established.
Once established and spreading on their own, they can typically do well with a soak and dry watering as long as you keep a couple of inches of organic mulch on the soil surrounding them.
This will help keep the soil cool and retain moisture.
Astilbe is a plant with fern-like foliage and beautiful flower spikes in white, pink, red, and purple shades.
These clump-forming perennial plants do well in a shady setting and can grow about 3′ feet high.
They like partial or full shade and grow happily alongside Heuchera and ferns.
Hostas can do well in light conditions ranging from nearly full sun to nearly full shade.
However, they are happiest with filtered sun, and the leaves of more colorful varieties will be the most attractive in a filtered or dappled sun setting.
Choose a Hosta variety with solid green leaves if you have a full shade setting.
Hostas are mainly grown for the foliage, but they produce fairly attractive, small purple flowers in the late summer.
Hellebores are early bloomers that do well in a sheltered setting with moderate light and enriched, draining, slightly acidic soil.
During their blooming period, early in the spring, it’s best to keep the soil slightly moist. Then, as the season progresses, you can move to soak and dry watering.
Planting under a deciduous tree is ideal for Hellebores because they like a bright light in the spring and early summer (before deciduous trees leaf out) but will suffer from the heat as the summer progresses (after deciduous trees are fully leafed).
Variegated Liriope likes settings ranging from partial sun to full shade. This adaptable plant can do well in all sorts of soil as long as there is good drainage.
It’s best to water Variegated Liriope weekly immediately after planting. Once Liriope is established, transition to soak and dry watering.
These drought-tolerant plants can do very well with no additional watering in areas with dependable rainfall.
Camellias thrive when planted in an area that provides morning sun and afternoon shade.
They like rich, well-draining soil amended with plenty of organic matter. Mulch deeply around young plants to keep the soil moist.
Then, as the plants mature, you can transition to soak and dry watering.
Azaleas make bright companions for Coral Bells. These pretty bushes like a slightly acidic soil rich in humus and well-draining.
Like young Camellias, Azaleas need a good blanket of mulch to hold moisture in until they are well established.
Once established, this “Royalty of the Garden” can be virtually carefree. They are quite a drought tolerant and pest and disease resistant.
Rhododendrons like fairly fertile, loamy, well-draining acidic soil. They do quite well in a sheltered, shady setting but can also tolerate some sun.
These plants need regular watering and should have a thick layer of mulch replenished annually in the spring to help feed the soil and retain moisture.
Coral Bells Make The Perfect Base For Shady Place Gardening
It’s easy to see that many choices are available for shady place gardening, and many make ideal companions for versatile Heuchera.
A careful selection of shady place plants adds interest and beauty to your yard and can provide a lush and yet deceptively carefree garden setting.
So follow your imagination and tips to create your perfect shady place garden with Coral Bells and the many interesting companion plants that thrive happily alongside them.