Last Updated on 11/07/2023 by Barney
Few plants that can compete with Coral Bells , otherwise known as Heuchera at the front of garden borders and planters. Finding the right companion plants for Heuchera can be challenging but ever so worth it.
Over they years I have used Coral Bells (Heuchera) extensively in my planting plans. I primarily grow them for the evergreen foliage colours and also provide much needed winter interest in the border.
The sublime foliage can be shown off to full effect when planted with other like minded bulbs, perennials & shrubs where foliage & flower colours can compliment & contrast with each other.
With this in mind I have created a list of my favourite companion plants & flowers for coral bells (Heuchera). The following all enjoy the same growing conditions. A moist but well draining soil, dappled to full shade garden.
My Top 11 Companion Plants & Shrubs for Heuchera
Evergreen Heuchera, or Coral Bells as they are otherwise known pair well with many other garden plants are pink flowers shade garden shade garden plant coral bells perennial plant early summer coral bell foliage colours full sun flower spikes flower stalks.
Ferns are perfect for creating a woodland scene with Coral Bells whilst also providing structure and a touch of architecture in the garden border.
Ferns are shade loving plants but most will cope admirably with a semi-shaded position.
Two of my favourites are the Hart’s Tongue fern and the Copper Shield fern.
If creating a container garden then a favourite of mine is to have Heuchera in the foreground with larger evergreen ferns planted in pots behind.
Harts Tongue Fern
The Harts Tongue has fronds that are wide & smooth. These are unlike most ferns that adorn fronds with serrated edges. When planted next to Heucheras the fronds of the Harts Tongue fern contrast with the foliage colour and shape of the Heucheras foliage.
Copper Shield Fern
The Copper Shield fern which grows to around 70cm is best suited to planting behind Heucheras. The dark foliage colour of Heuchera Obsidian, Purple Palace etc all contrasts vividly with the copper coloured fronds making the foliage of both stand-out.
Herbaceous perennial – foliage dies back in Autumn
Matching in size plant at the front of the border next to coral bells.
The mid green leaves have a downy texture. These contrast well with the darker foliage varieties of coral bells . After rainfall the droplets seem to float on the leaf surface like magic.
This perennial is definitely one to pair with Heuchera that has dark foliage such as Obsidian. The sulphur yellow flowers in Summer & Autumn contrast beautifully and sure to impress.
Tolerating a range of soil conditions Ladys mantle it is well suited to planting with Coral Bells. This perennial will thrive in a moist, well-drained soil in a semi-shaded border.
Ornamental grasses are a delightful addition to most planting schemes. Providing movement, adding texture and winter interest there are some that pair extremely well with coral bells.
Carex testacea (evergreen)
Carex testacea, also known as orange Sedge or Orange Fox Sedge, is a beautiful and hardy, evergreen ornamental grass that is native to wetlands.
It produces striking foliage that ranges in colour from bright green to deep red-orange. When planted in moist soil it can reach heights of up to 60cm with a spread of around 30cm.
Plant this gorgeous grass either behind low-growing Heuchera or alongside them to provide varying heights at the front of the border.
Hakeonkloa ‘All Gold’
Hakeonkloa all gold is an eye-catching, compact grass that adds a stunning pop of color to any garden especially when planted next to the darker foliage varieties. Those such as Heuchera Obsidian, Plum Pudding, Palace Purple and Wildberry.
It features small, bright yellow foliage and delicate clusters of bronze-tinged flowers, making it a great choice for adding texture and contrast to flower beds.
Hakeonkloa all gold thrives in full sun or light shade and requires little to no maintenance to keep it looking fabulous during the growing season. Simply cut all dead foliage back to the base in winter and you’re ready to rock n roll when Spring comes around.
Herbaceous perennial – foliage dies back in Autumn
With vibrant white or pink flowers Anemones will add Autumn colour to the border when most perennials have done their thing for the year.
Growing between 70cm – 1m tall plant behind coral bells.
The white lowering Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert‘ is my favourite and pairs well with all coral bells.
Over time anemones can form large clumps. When out growing their space they can be split into smaller clumps and replanted around the garden. Free plants!
Hellebore (Helleborus) Varieties
The quintessential winter flowering evergreen perennial.
Loving the same conditions as Heuchera ie: well draining & reliably moist soil the Hellebore makes the perfect companion plant when paired alongside Heucheras.
Planting these two perennials together will give front of borders flowering interest from December until early Summer. Firstly the Hellebores with their stunning flowers in Winter until early Spring followed by the flowering Heuchera.
With flowers ranging from cream to the darkest of purples pick a variety that will contrast beautifully with your Heuchera leaf colour.
Herbaceous perennial – dies back with the first frosts
With the bold, stunning foliage Hosta’s provide real contrast in leaf shape and colour when planted with Coral Bells.
There is a Hosta to suit everyone’s taste with leaf colours range from light greens to deep blues with plenty of varieties also sporting variegated leaves.
Grown predominately for their foliage the Hosta flowers are equally dramatic sending up spikes clothed with lily shaped flowers in the summer time.
Cautionary note: slugs do love munching on the leaves. If you are going to give them a go be dilligent with your method of repellent.
These charming wildlife friendly herbaceous perennials are perfect companions.
When in full bloom they average around 60cm tall so they are and best suited to planting behind coral bells to create a layered planting effect.
The eye-catching pincushion flowers range from whites pinks and reds (and all in between)
Astantia are low maintenance perennials requiring only dead heading during the growing season to prolong flowering. Division may be necessary every couple of years to keep the plants vibrant & healthy.
Bergenia, also known as Elephants Ears , is a beautiful, evergreen perennial that brings a unique charm to any garden. Not to be mistaken with Bergonia which are tender perennials.
The large glossy leaves contrast nicely with the smaller leaves of Coral Bells . Flowers are born on spikes with colours of cream, pink or mixture of both.
Bergenia thrives best in partial shade and moist soil with plenty of organic matter.
Maintenance is easy. Simply remove dead or damaged leaves as they occur and dead-head when the blooms fade.
There are so many varieties of Geranium it is hard to single one out to plant with Heuchera.
However, my go to favourite for planting alongside coral bells would be Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ as it is well behaved and requires minimal maintenance.
Forming a big clump of fragrant semi-evergreen foliage it flowers profusely from May to the end of July.
It’s A Wrap from Me
Though Heuchera are beautiful and undemanding plants, they can benefit from the addition of companion plants. Plants that compliment or contrast together will result in a spectacular arrangement.
By matching heucheras with other plants that have complementary growing conditions, you can create a stunning display that is also low-maintenance. With a little planning, you can enjoy successional flowering all season long!