Heucheras Thrive In Sun Or Shade

By Cindi Sullivan

(LOUISVILLE, July 12th, 2004, 5:30 p.m.) -- If you're looking for a plant that thrives in sun or shade, WAVE 3 Garden Talk Expert Cindi Sullivan has just the plant for you.

Heucheras -- or Coral Bells as they are commonly called -- make great garden plants for a sunny or partly shady area in your garden. Coral Bells have been the subject of much work by the nursery industry lately, resulting in some really interesting hybrid plants.

The standard in the industry is 'Palace Purple' It was the Perennial Plant of the Year more than 10 years ago (1991), but there are so many more coral bells to choose from now.

One variety I really like, the 'Petite Pearl Fairy,' will only grow to be about eight inches high and 12 inches wide, the leaves are bronze with silver markings and it produces pink flowers on 10-inch stems. It is great for using as an edging plant.

'Autumn Bride' is another good choice because it will flower in late summer to early fall. It has light green leaves that will reach 5 inches across and white flowers. It tends to be more drought-tolerant than most Coral Bells.

One of my absolute favorites is called the 'Obsidian.' Its leaves are distinctively glossy, with a black sheen.

Make sure that Coral Bells receive adequate water during the summer months. They are shallow- rooted and so tend to be susceptible to drought stress.