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How little light is ok for Coral Bells?

Posted by RikiH 8b, SC (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 15:39

Hello. I have been browsing this forum for the past couple weeks and finally decided to make a thread. Hopefully I am doing it correctly.

In the past couple weeks, I have stumbled upon the wonderful colors of Heuchera from some google searches looking at online vendors and finding this forum, so I decided to purchase some and try them out. I purchased a couple from Walmart, dont remember the names except four of them are Silver Scrolls and I purchased a couple Caramel at a local nursery and found one at another that I believe is called Dale's Strain.

I placed the Walmart ones under a very large Japanese Maple tree, about 7-8 feet from the base. They get mostly full shade except for a couple hours of afternoon sun from 6 to sundown and they seem to be doing well.

I placed all of the Caramels and a couple Silver Scrolls in a bed with a bunch of hostas that gets morning sun from sunrise until about 12pm and those seem to be doing great.

First question is do those areas sound good as far as light goes? I'm pretty sure the hosta area is great but I'm not so sure about the amount of shade for the ones underneath the Maple.

My second question is this-

I have another area I will be cleaning out and adding a couple inches of compost to. This area gets basically complete shade all day. I wouldnt say it gets bright light but definitely not dark shade.

Currently in this area I have a Giant Leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum) that is doing very well. I started with one plant and it is now three. This is its second year and it has not bloomed so far. The only other main plant in the area is an ivy that I will be removing to make room for two Crested Leopard plants on each side of the current one and room for other shady plants.

Would this area (all day shade) be ok to plant a heuchera like Silver Scrolls to get a different colored foliage in there or is it too much shade for the heuchera to do well? I would likely add some Japanese Painted ferns in the area also but I really like the look and color of the coral bells.

I have also been able to locate several Palace Purple coral bells at a local nursery; however, they didn't look so purple so I did not purchase them. I wish I could find some like the Plum Pudding or Plum Royale locally.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How little light is ok for Coral Bells?

As far south as you are, heuchera will appreciate some shade from the sun, especially from the afternoon sun. As for your all day shade, is it a deep shade, or a bright shade from trees with a high canopy, or is there ambient light reflecting off from a light colored building? In deep shade they may suffer a little, or not be very vigorous. They need some sun to grow, though I do have a few in deeper shade in my garden that seem to be doing okay, but I know if I moved them to more light they would do better. In fact, those that are in the deeper shade were in areas before with more light and did really well, and though they are doing okay, they aren't as vigorous as they used to be. I may have to move them sometime in the future if they start looking like they're going downhill.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Also, if they'll be in an area where they will be in competition with tree roots, they may not fare well. Heuchera don't have much of a root system compared to their tops, so they don't handle aggressive tree roots very well. Some food for thought.


RE: How little light is ok for Coral Bells?

The bed with the leopard plants is located off a corner of the back of my home and has a lot of bright light in the morning but no direct sun because of a large, high trimmed sweet gum tree (I believe its a sweet gum) about 15-20feet away. In the afternoon the area does not have as much light because it is shaded by my home.

I've read some other recent threads on here and from your advice, I believe they would do fine but probably not thrive like they would with some morning sun. Maybe some of the lighter colored coral bells would be best.

Any other recommendations for some shade loving groundcovers?

As far as the heuchera under the maple tree, I will watch them and see how they do. I will most likely trim the tree up a little to get some more light in there. When I planted them, it was not very difficult to dig the holes (not a significant mass of roots) so I believe I planted them far enough away. There are also some Autumn ferns under the tree and closer to the base. They've been there for about three years and seem to be doing well with huge leaves. The maple is about 20 years old and has already reached around 25ft tall so hopefully it will be ok.

RE: How little light is ok for Coral Bells?

If you like the look of coral bells, for deep shade try heucherella. They are the blending of coral bells and tiarella. They love deep shade, but do not come in as many fancy colors. My favorites are brass lantern, kimono, solar eclipse, and sweet tea. There are many more. Tiarella are also shade loving, but come in only green with fancy black markings on the leaves. Crows feathers, pirates patch and pink skyrocket fill in my deep shade. I also have luck with coral bell pistache in light shade with no sun.

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