This is one in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.
Stormy Seas coral bells
Heuchera 'Stormy Seas'
Size: Under 3 feet tall
Bloom season: Spring, summer
Exposure: Partial to full shade
Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stalks
Water needs: Once established, water deeply every one to two weeks
Snapshot: Coral bells have long been a favorite in dry and shady gardens. Stormy Seas is a hybrid that boasts deep purple foliage that gradually turns an equally attractive bronze. With compact growth, this tough perennial forms an excellent ground cover for small shady areas or along borders. Its dainty white flowers on tall purple stems attract bees and hummingbirds. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.
Why it's a favorite: "I love all the Heuchera I've encountered, but 'Stormy Seas' with its dramatic, dark purple leaves is a standout in my mature shady yard," said arboretum volunteer Terry McDowell. "Add tall, dancing white flowers in spring and summer fabulous!"