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Coral Bells – Growing Tips for Trendy Garden Plants

coral bells, heucheras, perennial, shade plants, sun plants

Berry Smoothie Coral Bells growing in full sun in Michigan

I’m going to share with you a garden TIP on growing Heucheras  (Coral Bells) that has help me improve my success  growing this popular garden plant.

Ever since all those new foliage colors in Coral Bells have come out – I’ve been sucked into this coral bell craze.  The wide color range, neat habit and tiny spikes of flowers are perfect for tucking in borders, along pathways and containers.

But here are a few guidelines I’ve used in the past few years that have worked for me when deciding on what trendy foliage color to use and where I’m going to place it.

Plant in good, well drained soil where it will receive a minimum of 1″ water a week.

1)      Dark foliage types – are more sun tolerant.  Berry Smoothie Coral Bells is ravishing in this garden bed – soaking in the rays and looking brilliant.

Plant in:  full sun or morning shade and afternoon sun.

My experience with Obsidian and Midnight Rose is that the more sun it receives the more brilliant the color becomes

2)      Light foliage types – need protection from hot afternoon sun.  Even with that said, by August the foliage color

heuchera, coral bells,

(Berry Smoothie Coral Bells). DESIGN TIP: Adding a bright, cheery pop of foliage color adds season long interest to your perennial garden

will still fade.

Plant:  Morning sun, afternoon shade

You will have different results depending on what region of the country you are from, but for me in my Michigan garden, these simply guidelines really help me enjoy Heucheras even more.

SedumSod – Enjoy 4 seasons of color with drought proof mats of Sedum!

SedumSod - 15 x 20" Color mat of Sedums for instant color virtually anywhere!

SedumSod™ gives you a speedy and simplified approach to gardening and its beautiful anywhere!

Within minutes you can turn an unsightly area in your garden into a tapestry of color with easy to grow drought-proof Sedum color mats.

Sedums are the ultimate perennial!  They have minimal water needs and a shallow root system that make them ideal to use in a sod-like mat.  Light weight mats installs in seconds!  Simply place in an area that gets a minimum of 4 hours of direct sun a day.  Fully adaptable to the harshest of conditions – summer heat, wind & little water!

Up to 13 hand selected groundcover Sedums were carefully selected for growth, color and beauty in your garden or projects

Both Chris & I have customized this unique blend of up to 13 varieties of groundcover Sedums that you won’t find anywhere else!  Our pre established sod mats measure 15” x 20” and are comprised of the right balance of soil & Sedums varieties.  The polyester fabric easily removes for quick installation in any landscape!

I’ve had so much fun with these mats! I have decorated my front entry door with them, used them as a centerpiece on my patio table – even hung them up!  The ultimate test was when I left mats on hot asphalt driveway where they received no water and they never looked the worse for wear.

Ideas on how to use SedumSod™

  • Small scale lawn replacement
  • Groundcover at the edge of a hot, dry bed
  • Banks and slopes
  • Plant in cracks and crevices
  • Areas inhospitable to other plants
  • Living wreaths, dog & bird house roofs, dish garden
  • Decorate patios and front entryways
  • Creative DIY projects
  • Instant splash of color – anywhere!

SedumSod™ is the most colorful mat you’ll ever want to own. No fuss, no muss and say goodbye to gardening hassles!

View our VIDEO

Sun Perennial Garden Design Idea

Easy sun perennial combination for a small space or container garden

Here is a sun perennial combination idea for your garden with 3 easy to grow garden plants

For season long interest I like using perennial plants that will give me 3 seasons of foliage color.

I love the new cherry red SEDUM  (Sunsparkler) CHERRY TART and pairing this with the blue foliage of FESTUCA for a front of the border planting.

For long season flowering color, I added COREOPSIS STAR CLUSTER which grows up to 15″ – so plant in the back). Star Cluster picks up the deep red color in the center.  Another alternative to Star Cluster would be a yellow flowering Coreopsis such as Creme Brule or Moonbeam.

All these perennials are easy to grow in full sun and well drained soil while providing season long interest in your perennial garden.

What would you combine Sedum Cherry Tart with?

Coreopsis Mercury Rising – REPEAT Blooms from Summer-Frost

Coreopsis Mercury Rising

Mercury Rising is both Heat & Drought Proof with stunning red blooms!

Coreopsis Mercury Rising is one of the most colorful, drought proof perennial ground cover for sunny areas and a personal favorite new plant introduction for 2012.

Finally, a velvety-red flowering HARDY Coreopsis ((PPAF)that blooms for 5+ months, takes on the heat & humidity and is bone hardy to zone 5,  This year our record breaking heat & humidity has not deterred the performance of this stunning, hard working garden plant in my Michigan  garden.

This breakthrough new hybrid is the result of many years of hand-crossing by famed hybridizer Darrell Probst.

Darrell has spent the past ten years striving for a Zone 5 (possibly Zone 4) ultra-hardy bright red-flowered Coreopsis to add to his much-acclaimed Big Bang Coreopsis series. He has hit it out of the park with his new velvety-red Mercury Rising Coreopsis!

Breeder Comments

“From what I have seen, there are no other Coreopsis in the market place that combine short, compact habit and large flowers with striking colors in a zone 5 hardy, true perennial”  stated Darrell.

“Plants are sterile, so no deadheading is needed to keep them in bloom. Plants blooms from early May in the south, early June in the north until autumn frost, producing more and more flowers as the season progresses.”

Prolific in containers as well!

“My Big Bang breeding program (which includes Full Moon, Red Shift, & Cosmic Eye) is from 100% perennial species, no annual species are in their blood and tested as far as Georgia with good results.”

Foliage is a bright, healthy green all season and shows NO hint of the dreaded mildew disease that often affects other Coreopsis.

Helpful Info

  • 1 1/2 to 2” red flowers with yellow centers
  • 18-24” tall
  • Spreading Habit
  • Blooms all Summer
  • Thrives in Heat & Humidity
  • Full Sun- Part Shade
  • Thrives in dry, moist, well drained loamy soil
  • Pest Free
  • Disease Free
  • Blooms First Year
  • Butterfly Loving

Combine Mercury Rising with Cosmic Eye Coreopsis for a color echo effect


I combined Mercury Rising with  Nepeta Walker’s Low and love how it looks together. Other combination possibilities: Festuca Boulder Blue, Coneflowers, Sedum Angelina , Rudbeckia GoldsturmYellow Knock Out Roses, or  Cosmic Eye Coreopsis Use in groupings of 7 or more for best effect.

Coreopsis Mercury Rising is a powerful color that looks dynamite in the sun perennial garden. As the season wanes the flowers just keep getting bigger.  Late in the season  flowers take on a cream streak.

You’ll want to add this remarkable perennial to your garden so you can start to enjoy the many features and rewards this Coreopsis offers!

Top 10 Coneflowers by Birds & Blooms Magazine

Sunrise Coneflower - stunning yellow blooms pair well with blue flowering Perovskia

It’s hard to top Coneflowers as an easy to grow drought proof plant. Echinacea or Coneflower is available in an ever growing palette of color with long lasting blooms.  They are easy to grow in the perennial garden providing an often needed late summer color and of course, they are just loved by butterflies!

We recently teamed up with Stacy Tornio from Birds & Blooms Magazine . Stacy provides insights on selecting the best Coneflowers for your backyard.

Read article:   Top 10 Coneflowers

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