The Q&A Archives: Coralbell Woes

Question: Why Are The Leaves On Coralbells Curling & Turning Brown?in Zone 7. Where should one plant coralbells?

Answer: The ordinary coralbells or Heuchera sanguinea does well in full sun to part shade. In an area with hot summers you would place it in full sun for all morning, in an area with very humdid summers it may not do all that well no matter where you plant it. You can combat humidity to some extent by providing the plant with an open location where air circulation is good and by avoiding wetting the leaves if you need to water it. This plant requires good soil drainage, meaning a location that is never soggy in winter or summer. In my experience these plants tend to turn a bit woody as they mature and benefit from dividing about every other year to keep them vigorous and growing well. These plants are generally pest free so if you are seeing browning foliage, it is often due to either over or underwatering. Your goal is to keep the soil barely moist but never too wet; watering is necessary for new plants while they are rooting but established plants are fairly drought tolerant. Check the soil after watering to see how effective your watering is, sometimes it is surprising. If watering is needed, it is better to water deeply about once a week than a daily light sprinkling. In the meantime, remove affected leaves or trim off the affected portions in case there is a fungal problem developing, and avoid wetting the foliage.

Finally, if the plant seems to be drying despite good watering technique, it may be due to failure to root beyond the original potting mix; if this is the case, you can try lifting the plant, untangling or even cutting some of the encircling roots, directing them outward, and replanting it.

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