Obsidian Coral Bell
Obsidian coral bell blooms sporadically in early summer with tiny white baby’s breath-like flowers on slender stems about 12 inches above the showy foliage.
Foliage interest – color/texture
Glossy, purple-maroon, scallop-edged foliage holds its color all season. Solely as a foliage plant this coral bell stands out boldly in any setting.
Habit & growth rate observations
Plants form robust mounds reaching 6 to 10 inches tall by 8 to 12 inches wide. In flower, plants are 12 to 15 inches tall.
Site preference – soil & light
Prefers moist, well-drained soil and full to partial sun exposure.
Successes & possible drawbacks – how to overcome them
Foliage remained clean throughout the trial and no pest or disease problems were observed. Coral bells tend to heave out of the ground over winter; correct by gently tamping plants back into the soil. Crown rot can be a problem so ensure soil is well drained. Mulch can be added, but keep it away from the crown. Deadhead flower stalks after bloom to tidy-up the plant.
Notes from growers/retailers
Plants are finished in approx. six weeks. Pot plugs in early spring to late summer. Plant in a well-drained mix and allow drying out between watering.
Carex, Hosta, Aruncus aethusifolius, Astilbe chinensis varieties, Alchemilla mollis
Parting SHOT – the overall evaluation results were Excellent
This scallop-edged, lustrous dark purple coral bell is very reliable and a wonderful contrast plant for shade gardens. Described as robust by evaluators—a word not often used to describe coral bells! The lack of foliage problems and good winter survival are positive attributes of Obsidian.