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Tidy Up Heucheras

In early spring, do this to help your heucheras, or coral bells, get off to a good start.

Heucheras, or coral bells, has risen markedly over the past 10 or so years, thanks to increased appreciation of foliage plants. In years past, these perennials were grown for their wands of nodding red flowers, which gave them the name coral bells. However nowadays many gardeners are drawn in by their colorful and highly textured leaves—made ever more diverse by breeders such as Terra Nova Nurseries, an Oregon-based company known for developing popular varieties including 'Amber Waves', 'Amethyst Myst', 'Marmalade', 'Peach Flambe' and more, including heat- and humidity-tolerant selections.


In many areas heuchera leaves persist over the winter, while the plant is dormant. Cold weather intensifies the attractive veining on certain varieties. New growth begins in spring, from the center of the plant. The old leaves can become ragged over the winter, particularly in windy sites.

In spring, tidy up heucheras to neaten their appearance and make room for healthy new growth. Cut back any damaged top growth. Pull out the oldest leaves and old flower stems. The plant will renew itself from the center.

Shown: 'Peppermint Spice'. Photo courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.