When we were kids, this perennial plant was called “Coral Bells.” It was a green-leafed plant with dainty coral-color flowers rising up on long, thin stems.

Over the last half century or so, plant breeders have developed dozens of new varieties selected not so much for the flowers but for intense foliage color. While many varieties still have pretty flowers, we’ve mostly forgotten the name “Coral Bells” and more often call this plant by its botanical name, Heuchera.

Heuchera tolerates full sun, but most varieties prefer partial shade and will perform well even in fairly deep shade. Heuchera therefore is one of the must-have plants for shade gardens. We have said it many times: Shade gardens are less about bright flower color–few plants with prolific, showy flowers thrive in shade–and far more about contrasting foliage colors and textures. This is where Heuchera shines. Leaf colors cover an incredibly wide range: silvery white, lemon yellow, oranges, peach and pink, red, maroon, purple, nearly black. Colorful wide leaves contrast beautiful with other shade plants, especially hosta, ferns, astilbe, lamium, liriope, and Japanese forest grass.

Heuchera prefers moist, well-drained soils. It tolerates cold, making this plant a good choice for early and late-season containers.

Heuchera “Georgia Peach”
Heuchera “Obsidian”