Caramel Coralbells are a stand-out selection! Their attractive copper-caramel foliage is burgundy underneath, creating a two-toned appearance. Cream colored bell-shaped flowers emerge in late summer, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. An excellent choice as a border plant or for container gardening.
Like other Heuchera cultivars, Caramel Coralbells excel in a variety of landscape uses such as borders, masses, or specimens. The two-toned leaves can be used to add a splash of color to any shady spot in the garden, especially where soils are dry. In sunny spots, you can pair the tough Caramel Coralbells with Palace Purple Coralbells for contrasting color that won’t singe in summer heat.
While not a key species for wildlife in Wisconsin, Caramel Coralbells provide value as a nectar source. The petite flowers will attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.
In general, Coralbells are tough plants with few problems. While tolerant of alkaline soils, Caramel Coralbells can experience rot with poor drainage. Amending soil with compost when planting will mitigate this issue.
In full sun, the leaves can scorch if there is not enough soil moisture. Conversely, Caramel Coralbells can get crown rot in shade with too much moisture. Divide in spring when center has become woody (typically every 3-4 years).
Caramel Coralbells can frost heave in Wisconsin winters if improperly planted or not adequately protected. When planting, amend soil with compost and plant even with the surrounding soil. Applying a fall mulch of 3-4” will prevent frost heaving. If frost heaving is noticed, push the crown back into the soil to protect the roots.
Spent flower stalks can be removed when Caramel Coralbells has stopped blooming. This may encourage a second bloom. The leaves are semi evergreen and may hold their color if winter is not too severe, or if adequately protected with mulch and snow cover. Damaged and withered leaves should be cleaned up in spring.
Caramel Coralbells has no major insect and disease issues but can be subject to frost heaving in winter. Occasionally you may find powdery mildew, rust, and bacterial leaf spot. The plants can also be damaged by weevils and nematodes. These diseases, however, are not major and best avoided by maintaining good plant vigor and siting Caramel Coralbells properly.
For the most part, Caramel Coralbells are deer and rabbit resistant due to their fuzzy stems and leaves.
Caramel Coralbells were discovered in Hantay, France, in 2002, and are believed to have come from a cross with Autumn Pride Coralbells. They are a variety of Heuchera villosa, a Heuchera species native to the eastern United States. In its native range, H. villosa is only found on rock outcroppings in exposed areas.
The Heuchera genus includes over 30 recognized species, all native to much of North America. They are found on a wide variety of sites, from rocky outcroppings to wooded meadows, with a variety of different growth habits. Although useful for many landscape applications, Coralbells were not widely used until the 1980s. Today, there are a plethora of cultivars available with different foliage colors, flowers, and growth forms. At Johnson’s Nursery, we try to limit our inventory to those varieties we know are successful for our Southeastern Wisconsin soils and climate.
Coralbells are also known as Alumroot, a name derived from their medicinal properties as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. The genus name Heuchera is a reference to the German botanist and physician Johann Heinrich von Heucher.
The compact habit and mounded form of Caramel Coralbells makes it a versatile plant for any space needing an extra splash of color. In shadier sites, consider using Rozanne Geranium, Hostas, Astilbe, or Sedges to contrast with the rich, caramel color of this plant.