Palace Purple Coralbells produce an attractive and versatile low growing mound of ivy-shaped foliage which changes color depending on light exposure. When sited in sunny spots, the leaves are a rich bronze-green, while shadier sites produce deep mahogany-red foliage. Spikes of delicate, tiny white flowers held aloft dark wiry stems emerge in early summer. One of the toughest Heuchera varieties we produce!
The versatility of Palace Purple Coralbells means the possibilities are endless! Use as a border, or mass in the garden where some added color is desired. Coralbells do well in the dry shade often found beneath trees, making them well suited for underplanting.
While not a key species for wildlife in Wisconsin, Palace Purple 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, Palace Purple 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, Palace Purple Coralbells can get crown rot in shade with too much moisture. Divide in spring when center has become woody (typically every 3-4 years).
Palace Purple Coralbells can frost heave in Wisconsin winters if improperly planted or not adequately protected. When planting, amend soil with compost and plant Palace Purple Coralbells 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 Palace Purple 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.
Palace Purple 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 Palace Purple Coralbells properly.
For the most part, Palace Purple Coralbells are deer and rabbit resistant due to their fuzzy stems and leaves.
Palace Purple Coralbells are believed to be a mix of Heuchera micrantha, Heuchera villosa, and Heuchera americana. This is one of the toughest cultivars of Coralbells we’ve worked with and tolerates much tougher conditions than the average species. They will tolerate full sun more reliably and without scorching, and seem to be more indifferent to soil texture. Although not recommended, we have transplanted and divided Palace Purple Coralbells in midsummer with no ill effects to the plant.
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 Palace Purple 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. In sunnier locations, you can pair it with Little Goldstar Black Eyed Susan, Hairy Wild Petunia, or Pixie Meadowbrite Coneflower.