How To Grow Coral Bells (Heuchera) In Pots
Planting coral bells in containers is a great way to add color to your garden.
Potted coral bells only need basic care and minimal attention so they’re perfect for beginner gardeners.
Here’s how to keep your potted heucheras healthy and attractive throughout the year.
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Coral bells (Heuchera spp.) also known as alum root and rock geranium, are low maintenance perennials that produce tall flower spikes with small bell shaped flowers.
There are hundreds of different varieties and they range in size from small plants that are 6 inches (15 cm) tall to bushes more than 3 feet (90 cm) high.
The foliage can be green, white, burgundy, purple or black. Some varieties have smooth shiny leaves while others have a rough texture.
A few of the most popular varieties of coral bells include:
Heuchera x macrosepala ‘Purple Flash’ – grows 2 to 2.5 feet (60 to 76 cm). Purple leaves with pink undersides.
Heuchera x laurentiana ‘Millicent’ – grows 24 to 30 inches (60 to 80 cm) tall. Lavender with red accents.
Heuchera x variegata ‘Valerie Finnis’ – grows 6 inches (15 cm) tall with variegated leaves. 
How to grow coral bells in pots
Planting coral bells in pots allows you to control the amount of water and sunlight that your plants receive and makes it easy to repot and divide the plants after a couple of seasons.
For your potted heucheras, choose a container that is at least 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) deep with drainage holes.
Coral bells prefer a soil that drains easily. Plants grown in poorly draining soil can develop root rot.
You can use potting mix straight from the bag or add some aged compost to improve the drainage of your potting mix.
Planting heucheras in heavy, water-logged soil will cause the leaves to yellow and fall off.
Coral bells can be planted from seed, cuttings or you can buy mature plants from your local nursery or online.
For best results, buy your heuchera plants from a reputable local nursery that carries quality plants that are disease-free.
When you get your new plants home, place them in a shady spot to allow the roots to recover before transplanting them into their new pots.
If you’re planting heuchera seeds you’ll need to refrigerate the seeds for about six weeks before planting and then sow them in shallow soil.
The seeds usually take about two weeks to germinate and you can thin them out when they get their second set of leaves.
Place the pot in a sunny spot outdoors or well-lit spot indoors.
They will grow best with six to eight hours of sunlight per day but very hot afternoon sun can burn the leaves.
Watering heucheras properly is important because they don’t like waterlogged soil.
The amount of water you need to give your plants depends upon how much sunlight they are receiving.
Water until the soil is moist and then wait for the top inch (2.5 cm) of the soil to dry out before watering them again.
Heucheras become dormant during the winter months but they still need to be watered every few weeks to prevent the soil drying out.
Coral bells need to be fertilized throughout the growing season for best results.
Fertilize your plants in the spring when they start to bloom and again in mid summer.
Heucheras in pots can be overwintered outside in mild climates but they should be brought indoors during extremely cold weather.
Place them indoors in a bright location and keep them just slightly moist during dormancy.
In the spring, move your coral bells back outside and enjoy the beautiful blooms all summer long.
How to divide and repot Heucheras
Coral bells expand to form clumps that need to be divided every year or two.
The best time to divide coral bells is in fall, which gives the plants’ roots time to grow and become established before the hot summer months.
Gently remove the plant from the pot and divide the root system into smaller clumps.
Transplant the new plants into containers and refill with new soil mix.
The extra plants can be shared with friends, planted out in the garden or given away to neighbors.
Growing potted coral bells indoors
When growing heucheras indoors in containers, you should place the pot in an area where the plant will get exposure to bright light for at least six hours a day.
Choose a spot that is away from air-conditioners, heaters and cold draughts.
It’s a good idea to wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth each week to remove any dust or other particles that might be building up on them.
Pests and diseases affecting coral bells
Heucheras can become infested with aphids, mites and other annoying insects so it’s a good idea to check the leaves regularly.
Always check for infestations when you transplant heucheras after winter storage.
If you notice any bugs on your plants you’ll need to spray the entire plant with insecticidal soap to get rid of them.
The leaves on the plant may turn yellow if there is too much nitrogen in the soil.
In order to correct this problem, the soil mixture should be amended with some aged compost or rotted manure.
If you notice any leaf spots or other symptoms of fungal disease, use a fungicidal spray immediately to prevent it spreading and causing irreparable damage to the plant.
So there are my tips for growing coral bells in pots.
Heucheras are very easy to grow and with the right care they’ll reward you with beautiful blooms all season long.
Use these tips to help keep your coral bells healthy and you’ll enjoy them for many years to come.
Have you tried growing coral bells in containers? Let me know in the comments below.
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