For long season color in a shade garden try this subtle combination of fern and coral bells. Coral bells ‘Plum Pudding’ is evergreen in warm climates and has plum purple leaves with a dark purple veins and a silvery sheen. The fronds of Japanese painted fern ‘Burgundy Lace’ emerge in spring to add metallic pewter gray with a burgundy flush that echoes the purple of coral bells ‘Plum Pudding’. Contrast is provided by the different size and texture of the foliage. Grow in part shade and medium moist, well-drained soil.
Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum) ‘Burgundy Lace’
The arching fronds of this fern are triangular in shape and have dark red stems. They form an attractive mound that slowly grows in size by rhizomes. The plant can grow in full shade but develops its best color with some sun. It must not be allowed to try out.
Bloom Time: No flowers; foliage colorful from spring until frost
Size: 12-18” H x 18-24” W
Hardiness: Zones 3-8
Coral Bells (Heuchera) ‘Plum Pudding’
The large bold leaves of this Heuchera are lobed and borne on long petioles. They form an attractive clump that produces produce tall wiry stems bearing loose clusters of small white flowers in late spring to early summer. Best color in the leaves is developed when plants are grown in part shade.
Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer; foliage attractive from spring into winter
Size: 12-24” h x 12-18” W
Hardiness: Zones 4-9