Heuchera sanguinea 'Frosty'
Common Name: coral bells
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Saxifragaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Bright red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Hummingbirds

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 3-8 where it is best grown in humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Performs well in rocky soils. Avoid heavy clay soils. Best in full sun in cool northern climates, but prefers some part afternoon shade in hot southern climates. In the St. Louis area, best foliage color typically occurs in sunny spots with part afternoon shade. If grown in full sun, consistent moisture is particularly important. Scorch and general foliage decline often occur if soils are allowed to dry out. 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. Remove stems of faded flowers to encourage additional bloom. Straight species plants may be grown from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Heuchera sanguinea, commonly called coral bells, is an herbaceous, clump-forming perennial that typically forms a basal foliage mound to 8-10” tall. Foliage is evergreen in warm winter climates. Showy, sweetly fragrant, bell-shaped, deep pink to red flowers (to 1/2” long) bloom from late spring to early summer (May-July) in open airy panicles atop slender leafless flowering stems rising above the foliage to 12-20” tall. Bloom sometimes extends through summer to early fall, particularly if faded flowers are regularly deadheaded. This plant is primarily native to cliffs, hills and alpine areas from New Mexico and Arizona south into northern Mexico. Rounded, cordate-based basal leaves (to 2” across) are borne on pubescent petioles to 5” long. Each leaf has 5-7 slightly toothed, triangular pointed lobes.

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

Specific epithet means blood-red.

‘Frosty’ features variegated green and silver basal leaves and panicles of attractive bright red flowers which bloom late spring into summer on wiry stems rising above the foliage to 18” tall.

Problems

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

Garden Uses

Showy, long blooming perennial that is commonly grown in borders, rock gardens and open woodland gardens. Mass as a ground cover or group. Effective as an edger along paths or walkways. May be grown in containers.