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. Coral bells are very easy to grow from seed. 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.
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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
Buy or Collect 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 ziplock bag, then stick them in the refrigerator to cold stratify.
I have found that you don’t need a fancy soil to start Heuchera seeds. 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.
Because Heuchera are shade plants, I didn’t feel the need to put my seed trays under grow lights. All of my seedlings were grown under window light. They do need light along with warmth to germinate. The light from a window and warmth of your home should be enough to stimulate germination.
Keeping the soil moist is extremely important when starting seeds. 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.
Starting perennials from seed can be a time consuming task but the payoff is a beautiful garden that you can enjoy for years to come.