(Heuchera Sanguinea 'Firefly')
Coral Bells Firefly is a hardy cool-weather perennial wildflower native to Arizona and New Mexico that grows on cliffs, hills, and in alpine areas. At maturity, this plant reaches a height of 12-19” and features thin stems and green heart-shaped foliage, with red nodding bell-shaped flowers. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, is resistant to deer and rabbits, and are great as a cut flower.
Variety: Firefly Coral Bells
Also Known As: Alum root and Heuchera firefly.
Native to: Arizona, Northeast & Northwest Mexico, and New Mexico.
Grown as: Perennial
Growth Habit: Clumping
Maturity (Blooms): Summer
Hardiness: Tolerant of drought, high heat, and even cold.
Air temperature: 50˚F to 55˚F at night and 60˚F to 65˚F daytime air temperature are ideal.
Soil temperature: 55˚F to 60˚F being ideal.
When nights stay above 40 °F, place your plants outside and leave them there. They can withstand winter temperatures to minus 25 °F when planted in the garden. In containers they can withstand about minus 5 °F.
Light: Full sun to partial shade. Heuchera do well in part sun, but stay away from hot afternoon rays - foliage will often fade, wilt, or scorch under intense sunlight. Instead, provide shade during the hottest times of the day, or plant where your plant will get consistent full or filtered shade.
Southern gardeners should plant in an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade while Northern gardeners may plant in an area with more direct sun.
Water: Dry to Medium. Water it well during dry periods.
Feeder: Low to medium. Heucheras are not heavy feeders and need little fertilizer to grow well.
Soil Moisture: Low to Medium. Moist but well drained.
Beneficial Insects?: Yes. Attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, is resistant to deer and rabbits.
Containers?: Yes. Coral bells have shallow roots, so a tall container is not necessary. A single coral bells plant will grow to be about 15 inches wide, but some varieties can reach 24 inches across. Use a wider container if you want to add more than one coral bells or include other types of plants in your container garden design.
Sow Depth: Do not cover the seed but press into the soil.
USDA Zone: 3-8
Produces: thin, wiry stems, green heart-shaped foliage, and red bell-shaped nodding flowers.
Garden Uses: Pollinator Garden, Rock Garden, Shade Garden, Border, Mass Planting.
With Coral Bells, it's best to begin with stratifying your seeds. To do this, simply refrigerate your seeds and put through a cold period lasting several weeks. Once the flower seed has been refrigerated for several weeks, it can be sown indoors 6 - 8 weeks before the last frost.
Fill a pot to within 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the rim with moist seed starting medium.
Firm the surface with the back of your fingers, then scatter seeds evenly over the medium.
Sprinkle a little additional medium over seeds but do not cover fully add a label with the plant name and date.
Cover the finished pots with plastic and set them in a warm bright place or under lights.
Temperature: 65 - 70F. Ideal 70º-72ºF.
Average Germ Time: 21 - 28 days
Light Required: Yes
Depth: Do not cover the seed but press into the soil
Moisture: Keep seed moist until germination
Plant Spacing: 12 inches
Direct Sow: Plant in early spring or fall in a full-sun or partially shaded location. Coral Bells prefers a loose, well-drained soil, amended with plenty of peat moss or leaf mold. The soil pH should between 6.0 and 7.0.
Transplant your seedlings into the garden once the soil has warmed. Coral Bells prefers a location that offers morning sun and afternoon shade if you are a southern gardener, or in a sunny location if you are a northern gardener. Coral Bells prefers a loose, well-drained soil, amended with plenty of peat moss or leaf mold. The soil pH should between 6.0 and 7.0. Dig your holes as deep as the pots you are transplanting from and keep a spacing of 1 foot between seedlings. Regularly watered during their first year of growth.
When outdoor temp: 50˚F to 55˚F at night and 60˚F to 65˚F during the day are ideal.
When min soil temp: 55˚F to 60˚F being ideal.
Rows: Space plants 16 - 24" apart in rows space 18 - 24" apart.
Fertilization Needs: Fertilize your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in spring.
Pruning: Clip off any dead, damaged or unsightly growth as needed to maintain an attractive appearance. In late fall or early spring, cut each plant back to a few inches above the ground. New growth will emerge as spring temperatures rise. When flowers fade, they can be spun off with a flick of the wrist. If stems get too long they can be cut off with the resulting stub re-sprouting and the piece in your hand replanted to form a new plant. This helps keep your plant compact.
Mulch: Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost, leaves, straw or other organic matter around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures and discourage weed growth. Replenish the mulch as needed.
In cold areas, Heuchera plants may heave out of the soil during the winter. Mulching will help prevent the freezing and thawing that pushes the plants up.
Heuchera is winter hardy, but will benefit from mulching in very cold areas. The time to winterize your plants is in late fall. When winterizing perennials, keep in mind that the root system is the most vulnerable to cold damage. Mulch heavily by mounding a 6-8 inch layer of shredded bark, compost, leaves, straw or other organic material over the crown of each plant.
Watering thoroughly in late fall will greatly enhance your plant's cold tolerance once the ground has frozen.
In very cold areas, containerized plants can be brought into an unheated, protected area such as a garage or cellar before temperatures drop below freezing. Check soil moisture every 2-3 weeks and water as needed during winter.
In spring, remove mulch from in-ground plantings. Containerized plants should be moved back out into the garden sunlight where they will begin to repeat their yearly garden performance.
Crop Care after 1st Year:
Dig up and divide plants every third or fourth spring, replant divisions immediately.
2. Find a Heuchera that has browning flower stems and seed heads.
3. Now grab the stem with your hand below the last set of seed heads.
4. Now "cup" your hand around the stem and run your hand firmly up the stem to pull off the seed heads and even some stems.
5. Put the seed heads in a bowl. You can see here the very tiny black seeds that have fallen out of the seed heads already.
6. Transfer the seed heads to a paper plate for drying.
7. You can now use a sift to separate the seeds from seed heads and stem chafe.
(Astilbe chinensis 'False Goats Beard')
False Goats Beard is a tender warm-weather perennial flower that is native to northeast China and Mongolia but can be commonly found growing in open forests, meadows, and along riversides throughout the United States. At maturity, this plant reaches a height of 24” and features upright, slender stems, green fern-like foliage, and plume-like pink flowers. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and moths, is used as a cut flower, and is edible!