Grower Select: Obsidian Coral Bells
Stunning! Obsidian Coral Bells brings high drama to your garden with its deep, dark foliage. The midnight-purple, nearly black leaves make a particularly striking contrast with plants that have silver, gold, blue, or variegated foliage. Unleash your creative spirit and see what combinations you can dream up! Try it with a powder-blue Hosta like Halcyon, or turn up the volume by pairing it with electric-yellow Sweet Kate Spiderwort. Obsidian would look sharp in mixed containers or in any of the formal beds or borders around your home, whether in sun or part shade. Magnificent!
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. Terra Nova introduced Obsidian Coral Bells in 2004, and it remains one of its top sellers.
Flowers, too! Obsidian Coral Bells is grown primarily for its captivating, near-black foliage, but its blooms are a nice bonus. In late spring and early summer, tiny, airy white blossoms rise on slim stems, making a lovely show against 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 Obsidian in rich, organic, well-drained soil that is moist but never soggy. Trim off spent flower spikes if you find them unattractive. Obsidian 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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