A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: How to Divide and Transplant Coral Bells - the Perfect Shade Plants!

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03 July 2012

How to Divide and Transplant Coral Bells - the Perfect Shade Plants!

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Coral bells are a fabulous little plant.  In Latin, they are known as Heuchera, but I kind of prefer the common name.  Heuchera kind of sounds like you are trying to cough something up.  ...or maybe I'm just not speaking Latin correctly (but who does really?).  Anywho, coral bells are one of those perfect plants that can be used as pepper plants in your garden.   Why?

1.  They are easy to propogate (multiply)  and divide easily.

2.  Their foliage stays in tidy little clusters low to the ground, then they send up teeny tiny little flower spikes that top out at around 2' or so.

3.  Those flower spikes are see-through plants, so they work with any number of other perennials without blocking them out.

4.  Oh and those flower spikes look pretty precious as cut flowers.

5.  Those leaves and flowers?  They come in a WIDE variety of colors from deep dark burgundy, to a caramel kind of brown/red, to bright lime green, yellow, red or even typical green.  Any garden can incorporate this plant.

6.  They are cheap...especially at the end of the summer.  Plant them in early fall and they will be fine.  By next spring, they might even be ready to go under division.

So your coral bells plant is about as big as a small pumpkin and you are ready to divide it.  What do you do?

Pull up the entire plant if it is fairly small and lightly pull at the root sections.  They will most likely naturally pull apart into little sections like this:

Root Section of a Coral Bells Division
If you have a very large plant, you can hack away at the edges with a shovel and take divisions that way.  
Need more instruction?  It is just like the hosta division method I use HERE!

After taking your divisions, it is simply a matter of replanting those divisions wherever you want them.  Do this immediately after dividing the plant so the roots don't dry out and baby the plants for a few weeks by giving them daily showers (or every other day...coral bells are tough!)  If you are transplanting in the spring or fall when rain showers are abundant, you might not have to do a thing -- God will take care of the watering.

SO.  It is mid-summer, the heat and dryness bear down upon us and we are stuck indoors or lazing around in the pool all day long.  
Why talk about transplanting?  It is far too early, right?  


...but not really.

Now is the time to write stuff down.  Write down where you need a little color, or a little bit of a deep tone to accent those lime hostas.  Write down which coral bells (or hostas, or daylilies or coneflowers) bloomed the most beautifully and maybe even mark them with a ribbon or plant tag.  You will forget EVERYTHING come fall and even more come spring when you are actually ready to divide, so take notes now and get yourself ready!

Also, if you want to divide a plant in fall, you might want to give it a little extra fertilizer and water now to keep it growing through summer.  The larger and healthier the plant is, the easier the divisions will be.  One caveat -- if you are suffering through a drought, leave well enough alone and don't fertilize right now.  Your plants will cry.  It is like taking someone to the gym and giving them 5 caffeine pills, then telling them to run without any water.  They will probably pass out and might even die.  (The plants...probably not the people, but you understand, yes???)

Happy coral belling to you!

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Becky Jane Tuesday, July 03, 2012  

For some reason I thought Utah was too cold for coral bells. But after some research, it looks like they would do great. I've wanted to plant these here, but never did. NOW I know I can. So glad I stopped by today, your post just made my day! Yippppeeee!

Sandi M Wednesday, July 04, 2012  

Every other plant I can never remember the Latin name and with heuchera I can never remember the common name! This is so timely. I have a huge one in the garden and as many other perennials as I've divided it never crossed my mind to divide this. Maybe it has to do with only remembering the name in Latin and therefore not thinking of it as a perennial???? Who knows but thanks for the reminder :)

amy peca Thursday, July 05, 2012  

Aim--Thanks so much! I have these planted already, didnt' know the name or how to care for them. Now I know I can spread them around the yard. They are so easy to care for.

carolyn kendrick Thursday, February 21, 2013  

Thats nice i love gardening and learning thank u carolyn i have wrote all kinds of books for my family now i want to write my story i dont know how to write a url

Amy Renea Tuesday, May 06, 2014  

That is great BeckyJane -- they are quite strong and hardy for such delicate flowers :)

Sandi -- I'd love to see your collection of coral bells from splitting! Please share!

Aim -- they are SO easy! Hussies, really.

Welcome Carolyn!!

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