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Heuchera americana is often confused with:
Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie' Purple-red leaves
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Viola pubescens Form
Viola pedata Viola pedata
Viola sororia Viola papilionacea

Rock Geranium Heuchera americana

Previously known as:

  • Heuchera americana var. americana
  • Heuchera americana var. hirsuticaulis
  • Heuchera americana var. hispida
Phonetic Spelling
HEW-ker-ah a-mer-ih-KAY-nah
Description

Coral bells is a small, mounding herbaceous perennial in the Saxifragaceae family with attractive foliage color.  In nature, it can be found growing in rocky forests and rock outcrops, particularly where soils are acidic. The genus name Heuchera is derived from the name of an 18th-century German physician, botanist, and medicinal plant expert, Johann von Heucher.

Plant in moist rich soils in shade to part sun. Clumps should be divided every 3 to 4 years in spring or fall.  The alum root has fibrous roots and a mounded rosette of attractive foliage highlighted with colorful veins or marbling.  The leaves emerge in a dense spiral from a short central crown and can be green or variegated in shades of purple, bronze or cream. Flower panicles emerge in the spring on leafless stalks above the foliage. The individual tiny flowers are bell-shaped with extended stamens and are greenish or creamy with a pinkish tint.

Heucheras are drought tolerant and work well planted in small groups in the front of a border, along pathways, near a patio, in a woodland, rock, or shade garden.  The foliage is high in tannins, giving it a bitter taste and making it unappetizing to deer. 

Several similar Heuchera subspecies are difficult to distinguish from one another.   This species has been used as a component of modern hybrids to lend hardiness, vigor, and color.  Cultivars are readily available and it may be difficult to find the straight species in the trade.

This plant was selected as the 1999 NC Wildflower of the Year, a program managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden with some financial support from the Garden Club of North Carolina.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems.

Learn more about Heuchera spp.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Courtyard Garden Collector’s Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#small spaces#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#purple leaves#piedmont#shade garden#showy leaves#colorful leaves#spring flowers#mass planting#specialized bees#moist soil#food source wildlife#cpp#well-drained soil#perennial flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#cream flowers#low growing plant#native garden#mountains#groundcover#fruits fall#summer interest#rock garden#cutting garden#spring interest#pollinator plant#clumping#naturalized area#fruits summer#fruits spring#border front#forb#food source nectar#food source pollen#walkway planting#small group plantings#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#pollinator garden#bee friendly#black walnut toxicity tolerant#Audubon#woodland garden#stormwater demo garden orange co#NC Wildflower of the Year#container plant#coastal plant#partial sun tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Heuchera
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Saxifragaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Roots contain the mineral substance alum which is a powerful astringent.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    native to eastern and central North America, from Ontario
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Heuchera support the following specialized bee: Colletes aestivalis. Bees and other pollinating insects enjoy the nectar from the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    In North Carolina, the fruits appear from May to September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowering stalk is 1-2 ft. and almost leafless. Small greenish-purple bell-shaped flowers droop from short branching stems. The stamens are tipped with orange anthers. In North Carolina, the cream-colored flowers are available from April to August.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Orbicular
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Each leaf has a long stalk and grows from the base of the plant; 7 to 9 shallowly lobed, toothed and heart-shaped leaves; 3-4 in. wide
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Rabbits