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Be careful when shopping for Coral Bells on an empty stomach—you may not know when to stop! With names like Caramel, Georgia Peach, and Plum Pudding, they sound good enough to eat. The look good enough to eat, too! Plum Pudding is a delectable selection that’s a favorite of many gardeners and a go-to Spirit for countless landscapers. This compact cutie is loved for its decadent foliage. The leaves are a deep burgundy, with a faint frosting of silver on the upper surface and veins outlined in dark, dusky purple. A feast for the eyes!
Coral Bells are native Spirits that grow all over North America in different forms. Up until the 1990s, gardeners considered them to be nice garden plants, but nothing too spectacular. Then breeders began to make crosses, and exciting new Coral Bells in brilliant colors began to appear. The charge was led by talented plantsman Dan Heims of Terra Nova Nurseries in Canby, Oregon. Heims and his team developed this selection, too. Plum Pudding was one of the earliest Coral Bells produced by the Terra Nova crew, and it remains a classic. It was introduced in 1996.
Flowers, too! Plum Pudding Coral Bells is grown primarily for its captivating, smoky purple foliage, but its blooms are a nice bonus. In summer, tiny, airy whitish blossoms rise on slim stems, making a lovely accompaniment to the sultry, dark leaves.
How to Grow
Most Coral Bells do best in morning sun, with shade during the hottest part of the day. Bright light will bring out the richest coloring in their foliage, but intense sun can scorch some varieties. Plant Plum Pudding in rich, organic, well-drained soil that is moist but never soggy. Trim off spent flower spikes if you find them unattractive. Plum Pudding is evergreen; clean up any winter-damaged foliage in early spring. Black vine weevils can be a problem in some areas. You can control them organically with beneficial nematodes if this is the case, or simply keep your Coral Bells in containers.
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