Coral Bells ... invasive? common?

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

I planted a purple coral bell variety in my experimental perennial bed and now I have 20 million of them. I didn't know they spread and so quickly. Is this common?

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

If they like whehre they are, they will "expand" but I don't think I'd call them invasive. Just enthusiastic. Think of them as gifts for your gardening friends.

There ae no listings in the USDA Plants Invasives site.
Type in Heuchera.

I can't find any reports anywhere of Heuchera spp. being invasive on our continent where one species or another of Huechera (Coralbells) is indigenous/native. Interstingly enough, looks as if it isn't even deemed aggressive anywhere here on North America. It must be very happy where it is planted by you so consider yourself very lucky. That's a wonderful plant.

I love the idea of thinking of them as gifts for gardening friends.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Or is it maybe something else other than Heuchera? I'm not familiar with any other plants that go by that common name, but I'm sure there's at least one other plant out there that someone somewhere calls coral bells.

Yes, that's the problem with common names.

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

Well, yes, it is Heuchera, purpura - common I think. Anyway, I planted it in 6 hours of sun, by mistake. It looked so droopy that I trimmed it back and left it's little stems with the "bells" on the ground around it. OMIG! I now have tons of little purple Heuchera all over that same spot - some are even blooming! I had no idea they did this, no matter how happy they are. I'll have to get a shot of them and post. At work right now. Keep your eyes peeled this weekend for an updated pic. thanks all.

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

next to the weeping cherry, on the right, at the back of this little fence is where they are multiplying. Close up to come.

edit: You can see the 'parent' there behind the Star Flower bush (new). Thank goodness this is my experimental plant bed, except for the trees and the rose bush. :)

This message was edited Oct 6, 2006 12:07 PM

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Hey pegdog, I couldn't help but notice your driveway. Extremely environmentally friendly. Good for you! Great driveway! I don't see too many like that any more but wish I did.

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

thanks, we share drive with our neighbors. We were going to redo it, but it's got a bit of charm we like with these 100 year old homes. The drive goes back to the 40's, I think.
Here are the little devils. I don't have that collage (sp?) thing going, so excuse the single photos.

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Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

here they are surrounding my star flower bush
edit: if these aren't Heuchera, what did i plant? Oh, and ignore the clover weeds! those are invasive.

This message was edited Oct 7, 2006 3:17 PM

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Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

One more,these little guys are to the right of the "parent" plant.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

IMHO, they look like my baby (sage) Salvia lyrata 'Burgundy Bliss" that are all around their parents. Don't they seem to be missing the thin stem of heuchera that holds the leaf up, but rather these leaves start to widen right from the center point? I got my salvia a couple of years ago.

Huechera 'Purpurea' is a cultivar of Heuchera villosa. Heuchera villosa is indigenous to Virginia so I think the cultivar should fare well by you. The leaves of your volunteers seem all wrong for them to be Heuchera. Maybe if you get some close up photos we could all take shots at identifying what you really have over there. Also too, paalexan (sp?) is the best of the best at identification in my opinion... maybe if you post the photos you have over in our plant id forum he will know what you've got even without better photos.

Southern, NJ(Zone 6b)

All I can make out is what looks like my ajuga, and clover. Is it the purpulish plant you are asking about? That's what looks like my ajuga.

Ajuga reptans is invasive. I sort of thought the color of her little volunteers matched Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' but the leaves don't seem quite right. They don't seem narrow enough.

Southern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Yes, Equilibrium, you warned me about the ajuga. (Thank you.) I have removed part of it that was my temporary erosion control. I will get to the rest. So maybe we are looking at the same plants in the pics - you know my plant disability so I thought I was not seeing right. That definitely is MY ajuga I see in the pics. It's old and may well antedate any cultivars! It has big fat leaves like that and the purplish color, and gets the nice blue spikes.

Maybe within pegdog's original heurchera (if it was that) was some ajuga? I can't see the mother plant well enough to say if it too looks like my ajuga.

I really don't see all that well but I can pick out that the shape of the leaves is inconsistent with Heuchera. I did spot what looked to me to be Oxalis in her flower bed also but again, I can't tell from the photos. I definitely did spot her little decorative ceramic urn things and I like those very much.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

All the little purple foliaged plants in the pictures look like Ajuga to me too. None of your closeups indicate any Heuchera to me. Patrick may be able to finalize the ID here. BTW, good looking drip hose in the beds there, pegdog.

I'm a little surprised at no recommendations about terminology here. Let's continue to describe what we mean. No offense intended; knowledge advancement is the intent.

Weedy (garden foes): plants that seed themselves excessively where we don't want them, as gardeners, making us remove them in order to achieve an aesthetic that we desire and reduce competition with those plants we want to have around.

Invasive: plants that never would have occurred in an environment on their own; causes a severe allelopathic change to that environment hydrologically, chemically, with regard to fire behavior, etc. and reduces/eliminates the ability of indigenous plants to exist or reproduce. These are typically plants from another continent, and usually introduced via the actions of the species Homo sapiens var. gardeneriensis.

These are really different terms, and should not be used interchangeably.

Ajuga reptans and cultivars are invasive.

Are those decorative urns functional as well as decorative? I don't see a drip hose. Where is it? Are those decorative urns somehow part of her drip hose? If so, I like them even more.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

pegdog, the second photo of the three shows flower stems above the purple leaves and it is indeed a salvia of some kind. The parent plant in the third photo does look like a heuchera. If you go out and pick a leaf off the "parent" and on off the mystery plants, I think you will find that they aren't the same. Salvias will scatter themselves about, but, again, I don't believe they are considered an invasive.

What color is the flower on the plants in question?

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Spotted the soaker snaking through the second snapshot.

Ah ha! I see it now!

Southern, NJ(Zone 6b)

I recognize the drip hose! It's in the second AND fourth pictures! I now can identify: (1) Hedera helix; (2) Vinca major; (3) Vinca minor; (4) Ajuga reptens; and (5) a drip hose.

However, I do still lack a solid grasp of "invasive". As VV says on another thread:

I don't think scientists studying the matter disagree on what invasive MEANS; there may yet be some disagreement on exact terminology to explain this to lay persons who don't know lots of scientific and botanical verbiage.

I am one of those "lay persons". To me, the definitions given in the Lycoris thread and a previous DG thread referenced within the Licoris thread don't give me a useful explanation. I feel like Justice Potter Stewart trying to define pornography:
... I know it when I see it . . .
Not a good working standard.

Edited to add "standard" in place of "definition".

This message was edited Oct 9, 2006 2:07 AM

Unlike pornography, you won't necessarily know an invasive species when you see it. And, scientists don't generally disagree on their collective interpretation of the term invasive species however much confusion does appear to exist amongst others.

Let's go back to this statement regarding an invasive species, "a species that does not naturally occur in a specific area and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic (harm) or environmental harm or harm to human health."

You reside in New Jersey. You will be able to go to research stations and university libraries as well as local native plant societies to determine which species occurred naturally in the ecosystems in which you garden. By occurring naturally, the vast majority accept plants that occurred prior to European settlement in a specific area as being native or indigenous which is the term preferred here at DG.

From here-

What is an Invasive Plant?
An invasive plant has the ability to thrive and spread aggressively outside its natural range. A naturally aggressive plant may be especially invasive when it is introduced to a new habitat. An invasive species that colonizes a new area may gain an ecological edge since the insects, diseases, and foraging animals that naturally keep its growth in check in its native range are not present in its new habitat.

Some invasive plants are worse than others. Many invasive plants continue to be admired by gardeners who may not be aware of their weedy nature. Others are recognized as weeds but property owners fail to do their part in preventing their spread. Some do not even become invasive until they are neglected for a long time. Invasive plants are not all equally invasive. Some only colonize small areas and do not do so aggressively. Others may spread and come to dominate large areas in just a few years. Below are some categories to illustrate degree of invasiveness.
For the record, I believe Lycoris radiata is invasive. If I lived down south, I wouldn't plant it. In my zone, it's not going to survive unless I lift out the bulbs and store them for the winter. To what degree Lycoris radiata is invasive is open to debate based on the above working definition. Simply stated, each and every introduced plant that survives and thrives in a specific area where it is not indigenous takes up "space" an indigenous species could be occupying. Habitat is shrinking and our NA fauna depend upon the integrity of ecosystems to sustain them.

Therein lies the issues. There are those who attempt to redefine the term invasive to tailor it to their specific gardening style. An invasive plant is an invasive plant is an invasive plant and lop their cultivars into that category too.

I don't know if I have helped or confused you more. I will keep trying to explain and sooner or later I will stumble upon something that will click for you. It's probably not you but me as I take the definition for granted given I work with invasive species.

This site discussed saltmarsh cordgrass and concerns regarding the existence of this plant in areas where it was introduced and I think it might help clarify the term invasive species for you a little bit-

The Nature Conservancy is probably the best site on the web to begin familiarizing yourself with the issues of invasive plants. You might want to start with this link-

Let me know how if your head is spinning yet. Invasive is a real tough concept to grasp. At least for me it was.

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

Not only is my head spinning, but I am LMAO at all this friendly banter about my little plants. I'll get some better close ups and go back to my journal to see what I "bought" and put in the ground. OR, what the nursery sold me ... it may not be what I actually have.

I don't know ajuga or hedera helix, or vinca major/minor (unless it's the window box kind that trails like ivy - which I know is weedy and invasive, depending on where you live!).

The "parent" plant does get long stems growing up and little "bells" that were pink. I have another heuchera that is in the foreground of that first picture, with the driveway. It is doing well and no little offspring at all.

I am glad you finally found that soaker hose, Equilibrium! And the decorative "urn" is indeed useful. It is my gardening hose guide. It helps keep the hose (obviously) from running over and breaking my wanted plants.

I do think I have weeds (clover) and if this purple "junk" - that's a techincal gardening term! - doesn't qualify as "invasive" then we'll just say it is INVADING my good, new experimental bed!

I'll get a better picture of the parent and the little newbie leaves. THANK YOU.

Where'd you get those urns? I love those urns and if they're functional, I love them even more!

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

Well, it's another passion of mine: Catalog shopping. I do believe I ordered these from Front Gate. I also bought the 'frog' from them. They had several different types and shapes to choose from.


This Front Gate?

Do you per chance recall what they were called so I can try to find them? I'm not a catalog shopper and I'm afraid I'll get lost in there. I do order on line if I find something that tickles me and I love those urns.

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

E - I looked. Maybe they were seasonal. I'll check my journal. :)

Thank you. I'm sort of tired of the hose going over plants and flattening them.

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

Going simply by the picture, they remind me of a sage I had when we lived in TN. It was a Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata), but there was also a weed that looked a lot like the picture also. When little, both were that purple color.

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

Well, my camera is not giving up the pictures I just took. I'll try this afternoon. I took some of the spreading monster, and some of the EXACT plant that is on the other side of the house - not spreading. Stay tuned ...

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

Parent plant as close as my camera would let me get.

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Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

offspring ... in same bed.

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Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

Same plant (it was when i planted them together/at the same time) and NO offspring nearby!

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Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

This is definitely a salvia, probably lyrata or lyre leaved. They have pale blue flowers? Not invasive, but they do like to move around in the garden. I must tell you that when things like to seed themselves around, I let them, but they can make you a litle crazy if you're into neat.

This message was edited Oct 11, 2006 5:37 PM

Winchester, VA(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Kathleen. I don't need neat beds - as you can see with all the leaves and clover about, just ones that have some planning to them.

however, these do not have blue flowers; they have light pink/white flowers. and the last picture I posted has ZERO seedlings / new sprouts near it.

Southern, NJ(Zone 6b)

Those don't look like the Coral bells that I've seen in nurseries, but I'm sure there are many variations.

Equilibrium says use Latin names because a common name may be several things to several people. I've really found that to be true in the past couple of months. I used Latin names in my earlier post to show off, and also because they are the only names and only plants I know! Pitiful.

I took some pics of my Ajuga today. I will try to post them tonight. It does not look like your most recent pics, but it sure looks like your first ones.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I again saysecond the salvia lyrata. Mine burgundy bliss is sparsely reblooming now, pink flowers

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Sally, you're right - lyrata, not lutea. I was talking and typing - heavens knows what I said!

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