Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
WITH THEIR DAINTY FLOWERS AND DAZZLING FOLIAGE, Coral Bells, or Heucheras, are the perfect antidote to an otherwise all-green situation. To satisfy my heuchera habit without spending a fortune, I usually buy one good-sized plant (in a color that makes me swoon), and then immediately divide it into three or more plants. You can easily build your own Coral Bell collection this way too:
When dividing plants, the goal is to cut away offshoots with a piece of the parent plant’s central root attached. As with all such surgical procedures on purchased plants, let the soil dry out a little first. Then knock the plant from its pot, and cut it in half, as pictured above. This way you can easily see the thick, white central root that is closest the base of the foliage. In the picture, my knife shows where my next cut will be.
Next, see if you can cut at least one more section from the plant, since it’s always better to have odd numbers of things. As you can see, I managed to obtain a trio of modestly-sized silver and green ‘Snow Angels’ from just one purchased plant.
Sometimes, despite your careful cutting, a tiny, rootless plantlet will become detached. You can still plant this fledgling, and rather optimistically, too. Inserted in good soil and provided steady moisture, it will soon grow its own set of roots, much like a divided African violet will.
You will find that heucheras — divided or otherwise — grow best in partially shaded locations, such as the dappled light my Woodland Garden affords. There, I space them one foot apart in rich, well-drained soil amended with plenty of leaf mold. A 3-inch layer of mulch around the plants does wonders to control weeds and conserve moisture.
Are you crazy for Coral Bells, too? Then by all means practice this easy propagation program. It will give you a flashy collection of plants for practically no cost at all. And you’ll feel like such an accomplished gardener.
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