The Q&A Archives: Plum Pudding Coral Bells and Sun

Question: A garden designer recommended plum pudding coral bells for my front garden. It receives many hours of hot afternoon sun. I love the purple foliage but will it survive? If not, can you think of a substitute.

Answer: Although regular green foliaged coral bells will enjoy a sunny spot, this particular dark leafed cultivar is recommended for shade to part shade -- which would mean bright dappled light all day or morning-only sun. In my experience it will not handle hot aftrnoon sun. It also needs an evenly moist yet well drained soil. For a substitute, you might look at some of the new sun coleus with dark foliage, or perhaps another new annual, Perilla "Magilla" although these will be a bit taller. Your local professional nursery staff may have other suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the growing conditions in your front garden and your overall design goals.

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