How To Fertilize And Water Heuchera Plants
Heucheras, which some gardeners call Coral Bells are very easy to care for.  There are are many, many types of Heuchera cultivars that when cared for properly will return year after year to provide beautiful texture and color in your landscape or gardens. In colder regions some are deciduous, which means they lose all their leaves. In warmer climates many varieties are evergreen, providing beautiful winter interest in the garden.  

Here's a breakdown of what you need to know regarding feeding and watering Heuchera plants...

Feeding Heuchera Plants

Heuchera are light feeders though will benefit from fertilization. They don't like heavy applications of fertilizer, especially quick-release fertilizers. An application of a 1/2-inch layer of aged compost applied around plants in spring is enough to provide the nutrients needed to maintain healthy plants. Alternatively, you can apply a light dose of a slow-release fertilizer or a mild organic or natural plant food in spring. Too much fertilizer can cause excess foliage growth and fewer flowers. When using a fertilizer, follow instructions on the product label.

Soil pH

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil, which is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline.

Heuichera plants grow best in a moderately acid to slightly acid soil ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. 

If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, or whether or not it's suitable for growing Heuchera, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil Sulfur, Aluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.

NOTE: Under the description tab on every plant page in Wilson Bros Gardens you'll find the soil pH range the plant will perform best in. 

Watering Heuchera Plants

First, a little about soil and drainage. Most Heuchera like a humus-rich soil that is moist but well-drained. To provide a healthy environment for Heuchera to grow in garden beds or containers, good soil drainage is essential. In their native habitat Heuchera are found growing on slopes and even cliffs. So they like a soil that is rich in humus but soft and porous. That means it might be necessary to amend heavy clay soils, which tend to hold a lot of water (especially during winter), with composted manure, chopped leaves, homemade compost, a quality planting mix, or other organic materials. Any site that stays soaking wet isn't good for growing perennial ferns. To ensure good soil drainage, plant in raised beds or mounds if you have to.

When you water your Heuchera plants it's best to do so during the morning hours so that water can dry from the leaves before the sun moves to high in the sky. This helps to avoid leaf scald. To avoid foliage disease, avoid watering Heuchera, or any other plants for that matter, in the late evening or at night.

Watering Heuchera At Planting Time 

Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area, including the rootball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball.

During the First Active Growth Season

In average garden soil you should not have to water your newly planted Heuchera every day. Heuchera growing in containers might need more frequent watering. More often than not, this causes soggy soil conditions that can lead to root rot and other harmful plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the rootball and surrounding soil damp to moist. Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. Heuchera planted during the winter dormant season, when plants are not actively growing and the evaporation process is much slower, will require much less water. So, be extra careful not to overwater during winter!


In the growing season, Heuchera will appreciate supplemental irrigation during drought or dry weather. During dry weather, just keep an eye on your -plants. If you see leaves wilting or curling this could be an indicator your Heuchera plants could use a good deep soaking.

Other Helpful Heuchera Watering Tips

Rather than watering on a fixed schedule, take weather conditions into consideration and use your fingers to feel the soil. If the soil is damp hold off on watering until it dries some. In containers, provide water when the top inch or so of the soil has become dry. Also, be aware that wilting can occur not only from too little water, but also too much.

When watering with an automated irrigation system it's best to set your timer to water during the early morning hours and not in the late evening or at night. During the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist but not constantly wet. 

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