8 Best Companion Plants for Coral Bells: Orchestrating a Symphony of Color in Your Garden

Coral bells, with their kaleidoscope of foliage in shades of burgundy, lime green, chartreuse, and even black, are a gardener’s delight. But these stunning perennials can truly shine when paired with the right companions. By incorporating complementary plants, you can create a dazzling display that extends the visual interest of your garden throughout the season.

So, get ready to transform your flowerbed into a masterpiece! Here are eight of the best companion plants for coral bells, each offering unique benefits to elevate your garden design:

1. Ferns: Feathery Friends for Shade and Texture

Image by Ryan KLAUS from Pixabay

Coral bells thrive in partial shade, making ferns their ideal companions. Ferns bring a touch of elegance and whimsy to the garden with their gracefully arching fronds. Their soft, green texture provides a beautiful contrast to the bolder foliage of coral bells.

Popular Fern Choices:

  • Hart’s Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium): This architectural wonder boasts upright, strap-like fronds with a unique, wavy edge.
  • Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum): Delicate and airy, this fern features feathery, silver-green fronds with a hint of red on the undersides.
  • Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina): This graceful fern showcases feathery, light-green fronds that add a touch of tranquility to the shade border.

2. Hostas: Bold Partners with Stunning Foliage

Image by Hans Linde from Pixabay

Hostas are the quintessential shade-loving companions for coral bells. Their broad leaves come in a variety of shapes and colors, ranging from deep green and blue to variegated options with creamy white or yellow accents. This creates a stunning interplay of textures and colors, making both plants pop.

Hosta Varieties to Consider:

  • ‘June’: This classic hosta boasts large, heart-shaped, blue-green leaves with a prominent white border.
  • ‘Frances Williams’: This unique variety features thick, rippled, blue-green leaves with a distinctive wavy margin.
  • ‘Gold Standard’: Brighten your shade garden with this hosta’s golden-yellow leaves, adding a touch of sunshine.

3. Astilbes: Adding a Touch of Airy Elegance

Image by Annette Meyer from Pixabay

Astilbes, with their fluffy, plume-like flowers in shades of pink, lavender, and white, bring a touch of romantic charm to the shade border. They bloom in midsummer, providing a welcome burst of color alongside the ever-interesting foliage of coral bells.

Perfect Astilbe Companions:

  • ‘Deutschland’: This reliable variety boasts tall, dark-pink plumes that tower over coral bells.
  • ‘White Light’: For a more subdued look, this astilbe offers pristine white flower spikes that complement coral bells with lighter-colored foliage.
  • ‘Arendsii Fanal’: This vibrant option features deep red flower plumes, creating a bold contrast with coral bells in shades of green or chartreuse.

4. Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian Bugloss):

Image by Jens from Pixabay

Siberian bugloss offers a unique combination of texture and color that complements coral bells beautifully. Its large, heart-shaped leaves boast a stunning silver sheen, adding a touch of shimmer to the shade border. The vibrant blue forget-me-not-like flowers in early summer provide a delightful pop of color.

5. Heucheras (Coral Bells) of a Different Hue:

Don’t be afraid to play with color and texture by planting different varieties of coral bells together! This creates a dazzling display of foliage in various shades, from fiery reds and purples to chartreuse and lime green.

Pro tip: When choosing coral bells for a duet, consider the color harmony you want to achieve. Opt for contrasting colors for a bolder statement, or select varieties with similar hues for a more cohesive look.

6. Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower):

Image credit: https://extension.umd.edu/resource/foamflower

Foam flower, with its delicate, white, bell-shaped flowers and interesting, heart-shaped foliage, adds a touch of whimsy to the shade border. The foliage comes in shades of green, bronze, and even burgundy, creating a wonderful textural contrast with coral bells.

7. Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forest Grass):

Image credit: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/hakonechloa-macra/

Its cascading, golden-green foliage adds a dynamic element to the composition. This ornamental grass partners beautifully with the bolder foliage of coral bells, creating a visually interesting contrast.

8. Hellebores (Lenten Rose):

Image by Jan Haerer from Pixabay

For a touch of winter beauty, consider planting hellebores alongside your coral bells. These evergreen perennials boast stunning, cup-shaped flowers in shades of white, pink, purple, and even green, blooming in late winter or early spring. They add a pop of color to the garden when little else is in bloom, creating a delightful surprise amidst the dormant coral bells.

Conclusion: Planting the Perfect Combination

With a little planning and creativity, you can create a stunning and harmonious shade border by pairing coral bells with the perfect companions. Consider factors like light requirements, bloom times, and desired color combinations when making your selections. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun!

Here are some additional tips for success:

  • Pay attention to plant heights: Create a layered effect by planting taller companions in the back and shorter ones in the front, with coral bells taking center stage.
  • Think about maintenance needs: Choose plants with similar watering and feeding requirements to minimize upkeep.
  • Mulch for moisture retention and weed control: A layer of mulch will help keep your plants healthy and reduce the need for frequent watering.

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