Heuchera also known as Coral Bells have become one of my top favorite plants for shade gardens. Once established, they only need attention in extreme conditions like long periods of drought or full sun. Let me show you how easy it is to grow heuchera from seed!
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How to Grow Heuchera from seed
You will need the following supplies:
- Pots or Seed starting trays
- Seed Starting Soil Mix
- Grow Light or Bright Window
- Plastic Wrap or Humidity Dome
- Fill your seed trays or pots with seed starting mix.
- Sprinkle the heuchera seeds on top of the mix, but do not cover them. Heuchera seeds need light to germinate.
- Water the soil gently until it is moist but not soggy.
- Cover the seed trays or pots with plastic wrap or a humidity dome. This will help to keep the soil moist and create a humid environment for the seeds to germinate.
- Place the seed trays or pots in a warm, bright location. The ideal temperature for germination is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Mist the soil regularly, especially if the humidity is low.
- Germination can take anywhere from 10 days to 4 weeks. Once the seeds have germinated, remove the plastic wrap or humidity dome.
- If you are using grow lights, place the seedlings under the lights for 12-14 hours per day.
- Once the seedlings have developed at least two sets of true leaves, you can transplant them into individual pots or into the garden.
PRO TIP: They will sprout quicker if you cold stratify them just like they would experience if they were outside. Heuchera are an evergreen perennial, growing in zones 4-9.
Where to get Heuchera / Coral Bell Seeds
You will want to acquire some Heuchera seeds. I’ve collected seeds from my own plants and have ordered seeds from Seedville Usa. If you don’t have any Heuchera in your garden yet, feel free to order seeds online.
If you are collecting your seeds in the Fall, you will want to make sure the seed pods are dry and ready. Heuchera seeds are so tiny, so I don’t bother doing too much separating the seeds from the pod. I do a little shake to get most of the seeds out. I put them In a zip lock bag, then stick them in the refrigerator to cold stratify.
Heuchera Seed Starting Soil
I have found that you don’t need a fancy soil to grow heuchera from seed. I have used regular potting soil and seed starting soil and both worked well for growing seedlings. You can use whichever you feel most comfortable with.
As far as what to grow your seedlings in, you can use pots, trays, or whatever you have access to. I love growing perennials in flat trays. Many are from produce I’ve purchased from the grocery store. They are easy to cut drainage holes in and come in all different sizes.
The light from a window and warmth of your home should be enough to stimulate germination. However If you are not getting enough window light I highly suggest putting them under a grow light.
Keeping the soil moist is extremely important when starting heuchera from seed. Dry soil can lead to no germination so you will want to make sure the soil is not drying out. You can do this by using a spray bottle daily or by bottom watering your trays daily. Bottoms watering is so helpful with seedlings because it doesn’t disturb seed placement like overhead watering can.
Once your seeds sprout it’s time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done! It’s not easy and any wins during seed starting season should always be celebrated. Now don’t get too carried away there’s still more to do! It gets easier from this point.
All that’s really needed is to make sure the soil is kept moist not soggy and that they are getting air flow and light. Once they have about 4-5 true leaves you can move them from the flat trays to individual pots being careful not to bury the crown of the plant under soil. That is a sure way to rot your little Coral Bell babies.
Heuchera are very cold hardy plants. They handle cold and frost very well so acclimation should be a breeze. What I do once it’s spring and the temps have warmed up a little is allow them days outside in full shade. I bring them in at night even though I don’t really need to.
Once your little Heuchera are big enough to hold their own feel free to plant them. I was able to get many of mine planted in late fall.
How to propagate Heuchera
There are two ways to propagate heuchera: by division and by cuttings.
Propagate Heuchera by Division
Division is the easiest and most common way to propagate heuchera. It is best done in the spring, when the plants are actively growing.
To divide a heuchera plant:
- Dig up the entire plant.
- Gently loosen the roots and pull the plant apart into two or more sections.
- Make sure each section has at least 3 healthy shoots and a good root system.
- Replant the divisions in a well-drained location.
- Water the plants well.
Propagate Heuchera from Cuttings
To propagate heuchera by cuttings, take cuttings in the spring or early summer.
How To take Heuchera cuttings:
- Choose healthy stems that are 3-4 inches long.
- Make a clean cut at the base of the stem.
- Remove any lower leaves.
- Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone (optional).
- Plant the cuttings in a well-drained potting mix.
- Water the cuttings well and place them in a bright, indirect location.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- The cuttings should root within 4-6 weeks.
Once the cuttings have rooted, you can transplant them into the garden.
Propagation is a great way to make more plants for your garden and save money at the same time!
When you grow Heuchera from seed it can be a time consuming task but the payoff is a beautiful garden that you can enjoy for years to come.