Heuchera americana 'Ring of Fire'
Common Name: coral bells
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Saxifragaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Pinkish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Performs well in full sun in the north, but prefers some shade (particularly in the heat of the afternoon) in the south. In the St. Louis area, best foliage color may occur in sunny spots with part afternoon shade. Scorch and general foliage decline usually occur if soils are allowed to dry out. If grown in full sun, consistent moisture is particularly important. Remove stems of faded flowers to encourage additional bloom. On the other hand, some gardeners prefer to remove flower stems before flowering if plants are being grown as ground covers for their foliage texture and color. Foliage is essentially evergreen in warm winter climates, but the amount of retained foliage color in cold winter climates such as St. Louis depends in large part upon the severity of the temperatures. In cold winter climates, a winter mulch applied after the ground freezes will help prevent root heaving. Divide clumps in spring every 3-4 years.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Heuchera americana, commonly called coral bells or alumroot, is a clump-forming Missouri native perennial which occurs in somewhat dryish locations in rocky open woodlands and along ledges and crevices of bluffs. Typically features a 12- to 15-inch-tall basal clump of heart-shaped, 5- to 7-lobed, long-petioled leaves (3-5" wide), which emerge flushed with purplish-brown and mature to a uniform green. Tiny, greenish-white, bell-shaped flowers in open, airy panicles are borne on slender, wiry stems extending well above the mound of leaves, typically to a height of 18-24" (infrequently to 3 feet) in late spring to early summer.

Genus name honors Johann Heinrich von Heucher (1677-1747), physician, botanist and medicinal plant expert at Wittenberg University, Germany.

Specific epithet means of North or South America.

‘Ring of Fire’ features large, silvery leaves and conspicuous but non-showy whitish flowers. The rounded, lobed, long-petioled leaves form a basal mound (to 8” tall) which may spread to 16” wide. Tiny, pinkish-white flowers. Leaves of this cultivar reportedly develop an attractive bright coral edge in fall when cool temperatures return.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Frost heaving of roots may occur when winter temperatures fluctuate widely.

Garden Uses

Attractive foliage and airy flower panicles provide color and contrast to the rock garden, perennial border, native plant garden, open woodland garden or shade garden. Good edging plant. Mass to form an attractive ground cover.