A whole new group for your garden. Coral Bells, or the Heuchera are a group of small evergreen perennials commonly found as native plants in North American woodlands, and they've been ignored until recently. During the 1990s, some enterprising nurserymen in the southeast realized the Coral Bells were diamonds in the rough, and went to work. Their efforts have created a mini-sensation in the world of perennials, as more and more gardeners discover these great plants.
Some of the natives are alpines from our mountaintops, others are dwellers in lowland forests. But all have several wonderful things in common.
They have beautiful foliage, with large leaves in several colors that remind many of grape leaves, and the foliage lasts through the winter. With hybridization, some of the foliage colors have become truly spectacular, with rich shades and fascinating bi-colors.
Now there are new Heuchera hybrids almost every year, and the group gains popularity all the time. They take full sun or partial shade. And while most of these are grown for their handsome foliage, many also have lovely flowers, some spectacular. Best of all, the plants bloom for weeks and weeks. The flowers rise from a clump of leaves on elegant, thin stems which are lined with the small bell-like blooms.