Heuchera varieties – the top 15 coral bells for foliage and flowers

There are so many types of coral bells to choose from for your flower beds and containers

Best heucheras
(Image credit: Glagazina/ Shutterstock)

Heucheras – also known as coral root and coral bells – are neat evergreen hardy perennials that are interesting additions to flower beds and much admired for their astonishing range of foliage shapes, colors and patterns. 

Many of these perennial plants also develop small, but pretty, flowers that line the vertical stems in summer and are very popular with hummingbirds and pollinators including bees and butterflies.

At first, from the 1930s to the 1960s, heucheras were noted for their flowers and were widely grown as cutting garden flowers. Then, as more and more varieties with attractive leaves were developed, heucheras rapidly became more popular as foliage plants. Then interest swung back to varieties featuring both good flowers and good foliage, and now growers are again developing varieties whose main feature is their flowers. Now there are so many varieties, with more newcomers every year, that it really can be hard to choose.

There is an important group of heuchera varieties that have been developed both for their attractive foliage and for their showy flowers. These coral bells are ideal for small backyards where two different displays from the same plant doubles the impact in the garden from the same space.

1. ‘Can-Can’

Heuchera Can-Can

Heuchera 'Can-Can' has dramatically marbled leaves

(Image credit: Anna Gratis/Shutterstock)
  • Feature: Foliage
  • Good for: Window boxes and other tight spaces
  • Flowers: Small, greenish, and best snipped off
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 11in

These are tight, compact coral bells that feature pretty ruffled silver foliage with bronze veins, becoming greener in summer and revealing the red undersides to the leaves among the ruffles. The leaves are said to resemble a can-can-dancing-dress.

2. ‘Citronelle’ 

heuchera Citronelle

The acid green leaves of heuchera 'Citronelle'

(Image credit: GardenPhotos.com/Alamy Stock Photos)
  • Feature: Foliage
  • Good for: Brightening a shady border, or a container feature
  • Flowers: Small, creamy, usually best removed
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 14in 

This heuchera variety features dense mounds of soft, overlapping leaves which are a beautiful sharp, acid yellow in color, although they tend more to chartreuse in a little shade. The undersides are silver. 

This variety will stands out brightly with darker leaved plants or even against the dark soil or certain types of mulch

3. ‘Delta Dawn’

Heuchera Delta Dawn

'Delta Dawn' grows best in shade in hotter zones

(Image credit: Coulanges/Shutterstock)
  • Feature: Foliage
  • Good for: A container specimen and for path edging
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 14in

Rounded yellow leaves are stained red in the center, strongly in spring and summer, and feature a network of red veins, especially in the summer months. 

The creamy flowers are larger than those of some varieties, but do not harmonize well with the leaves. In the south they do best growing in a shady garden.

It's a good option for garden edging alongside paths and borders where you can admire its foliage changes. 'Delta Dawn' is available from Nature Hills

4. 'Ebony and Ivory' (‘E and I’)

Heuchera Ebony and Ivory

The ever-popular 'Ebony and Ivory' contrasts dark leaves with pale flowers

(Image credit: Botanic World/Alamy Stock Photos)
  • Feature: Foliage and flowers
  • Good for: Cutting both flowers and foliage
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 20in (in flower)

This popular old favorite features unusually long and jaggedly toothed leaves in dark greenish bronze, silvered in the center and rosy purple below. They color especially well in cool conditions. 

The prolific creamy flowers make a crisp contrast and last well when cut. 'E and I' would make a good addition to any white garden ideas.

5. ‘Green Spice’

Heuchera 'Green Spice'

Heuchera 'Green Spice' has bright green leaves with red veins

(Image credit: Anna Gratys/Shutterstock)
  • Feature: Foliage
  • Good for: Shade, poor soil, leaves are pretty in posies
  • Flowers: Small, white flowers
  • Height: 10in

Small, neatly lobed green leaves are veined in blood-red, especially striking in cooler weather, and overlaid with a silver sheen. Matures almost twice as wide as high so works well as a ground cover plant.

The white flowers are best snipped off, or they can be left in place to attract bees to the garden.

'Green Spice' is available from Nature Hills

6. ‘Lime Marmalade’

heuchera 'Lime Marmalade'

Heuchera 'Lime Marmalade' has eye-catchingly bright ruffled leaves

(Image credit: Malikmali/Shutterstock)
  • Feature: Foliage and flowers
  • Good for: Well-drained soils, in groups as a ground cover
  • Flowers: White flowers on tall stems
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 16in

Densely ruffled, limey yellow leaves make a bold, vibrant mound of foliage. Vigorous and robust, this heuchera variety keeps its color well all year.

It also works particularly well as a container specimen – in a terracotta pot, perhaps, such as this 'distressed' antique-style pot from Goodman and Wife on Amazon.

7. ‘Midnight Rose’

Heuchera 'Midnight Rose'

The dramatic pink-flecked deep purple leaves of 'Midnight Rose'

(Image credit: Anna Gratys/Shutterstock)
  • Feature: Foliage
  • Good for: Mixed containers, path-side specimen, ground cover or edging
  • Hardiness: USDA 4
  • Height: 20in

Features a rare foliage pattern of glossy, almost black leaves speckled in pink. The leaves enlarge as the season progresses and the pink tones turn closer to white.

The flowers are fairly insignificant, and are best removed. 

'Midnight Rose' is available from Nature Hills

8. ‘Obsidian’

Heuchera 'Obsidian'

Heuchera 'Obsidian' is another variety with dramatically dark leaves

(Image credit: Future)
  • Feature: Foliage
  • Good for: Planting with blue or white spring scillas
  • Flowers: Small, creamy flowers are best snipped off
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4 
  • Height: 12in

Broad, rounded, gently lobed leaves up to 4 inches across are almost black with slight reddish tints and hold their color all year round. This is a strong growing and reliable variety, that would make a bold addition to any flower bed

'Obsidian' is available at Walmart

9. ‘Rave On’

Heuchera 'Rave On'

The prolific heuchera 'Rave On' has pink flowers on contrasting dark stems as well as eye-catching foliage

(Image credit: Botany Vision/Alamy Stock Photos)
  • Feature: Foliage and flowers
  • Good for: Cutting, in containers, or as the only heuchera in a tiny yard
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 20in

One of the most prolific of all heuchera varieties with slender but crowded spires of pink flowers carried on dark stems, and sit elegantly just above the foliage. 

The rounded green leaves feature small lobes and silvered patching towards the edges.

10. ‘Peppermint Spice’

Heuchera 'Peppermint Spice'

Silver and green leaves and salmon-pink flowers make this heuchera a stand-out specimen

(Image credit: Botany Vision/Alamy Stock Photos)
  • Feature: Foliage and flowers
  • Good for: Containers, and the front of borders as well as cutting
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 20in

Prettily silvered, green foliage with neat rounded lobes, is gently silvered and marked with a neat network of purple veins. The reddish-salmon flowers are held low over the leaves. 

For best results when growing this heuchera variety, it's best not to expose it to hot sun all day. It also makes a good cutting garden flower

'Peppermint Spice' is available at Nature Hills

11. ‘Silver Scrolls’

Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls'

Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls' has leaves that are almost metallic

(Image credit: Moolkum/Shutterstock)
  • Feature: Foliage and flowers
  • Good for: Container specimen, front of the border feature
  • Flowers: Tall and upright, pink buds open white
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 14in

New spring leaves that are silver tinted deep red, become rounded and metallic silver in color with slate grey veins and are deep reddish purple below. 

This is one of the best drought-tolerant plants, so well worth considering for your backyard planting scheme if you live in a dry climate. 

'Silver Scrolls' is available at Nature Hills

12. ‘Tangerine Wave’

Heuchera 'Tangerine Wave'

'Tangerine Wave' has bold colors but may lose leaves in winter

(Image credit: Plantagogo.com)
  • Feature: Foliage.
  • Good for: Containers
  • Flowers: Small, white, and best snipped off
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 10in
  • Also try: ‘Frilly’ (dramatically frilled leaves)

This heuchera variety makes a compact mound of lobed and waved foliage unfurling in beige and gold tones then orange red and dark red, changing through the months. 

Grow in a in a sunny place to bring out the best color in its foliage. It may lose some or all of its foliage in cold winters.

13. ‘Thomas’ 

Heuchera 'Thomas'

Heuchera 'Thomas' has strong stems of creamy flowers

(Image credit: Plantagogo.com)
  • Feature: Flowers
  • Good for: A striking plant in the border
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 2ft (in flower)

If you're planning a cut flower garden, this makes a fine option. It is also very popular with bees owing to its large flowers. 

The unusually large flared flowers in creamy yellow open from greenish buds on stout vertical stems. The green foliage is veined in purple with a silvery haze.

14. 'Timeless' series

Heuchera 'Timeless Night'

The 'Timeless' series such as this variety 'Timeless Night' are long-flowering

(Image credit: Walters Gardens, Inc)
  • Feature: Foliage and flowers
  • Good for: Floral display, cutting fresh or dried
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 18in

Five varieties, all of which are basically similar, with a prolonged season of long stemmed, pale pink flowers that mature to deep rosy red – but each with leaves in a different color. ‘Berry Timeless’ (green-veined silver leaves), available from Nature Hills, is outstanding.

15. ‘Wildberry’

Heuchera 'Wildberry'

Award-winning 'Wildberry' is another dramatic heuchera with almost black-veined leaves

(Image credit: blickwinkel/Alamy Stock Photos)
  • Feature: Foliage
  • Good for: Edging, a container specimen
  • Hardiness: USDA Z4
  • Height: 14in

Glossy, scalloped foliage is veined in charcoal-black, and retains its rich, deep purple coloring for much of the year. 

Add it to containers as a striking contrast to lighter-colored perennials, or use it to edge a flower bed for a statement look. 

In container gardens, heuchera varieties that combine color from both flowers and foliage are especially valuable – both in mixed plantings in large containers, hanging baskets and as specimens is decorative pots. Heuchera varieties with striking foliage will also provide a striking contrast to other plants used in a living wall.

Graham Rice
Freelance writer

Graham Rice is a garden writer who has won awards for his work online, and in books and magazines, on both sides of the Atlantic. He is a member of a number of Royal Horticultural Society committees and the recipient of the 2021 Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. He gardened in Pennsylvania for 20 years, but has recently returned to his native England.