Why is My Heuchera Dying

Heuchera Plant Dying? (Troubleshooting 8 Common Problems)

The most common causes of heuchera dying are overwatering, drought stress, excessive sunlight, and pest issues. Heucheras require consistently moist but well-drained soil and partial shade. Root rot from overwatering causes leaf wilt and decline. Underwatering also leads to drying foliage and death. Full sun scorches leaves. Slugs, earwigs, vine weevils, and aphids may defoliate plants

Coral Bells plant (Botanically called Heuchera) is also commonly called the Alum root plant. The Coral Bells plant is grown for its beautiful leaves.

Heuchera comes in different colors, ranging from deep purple, burgundy to red. Coral Bells Plant is the perfect shade plant you’ve been looking for!

It comes in different colors and produces blossoms that last for a long time. The plant is easy to care for. However, it does run into some problems.

Coral Bells leaves turning brown

Coral bells plant turns brown mainly due to a fungal rust disease caused by Puccinia hucherae. The leaves of Heuchera also turn brown if the plant gets too much sun. Anthracnose also causes brown spots on the leaves of Heuchera. Overfertilizing also turns the leaves brown.

Heuchera brown spots on leaves

Those tiny brown spots you see on the leaves of your Heuchera are caused by a fungus called Puccinia hucherae. This fungus is specific to Heuchera and can cause great damage.

Initially, you’ll see small, sunken areas on the leaves. The lower sides of the leaves have sunken spots that are rust-colored.

Eventually, you’ll see rust-colored bumps/spots on the upper sides of the leaves and the stem. Holes form on these bumpy areas.

How do you treat Heuchera rust?

  • Remove all the infected leaves as soon as you notice them.
  • Cut off all the leaves and leave the plant bare for a while. The plant will produce new leaves that are devoid of rust.
  • If this doesn’t solve the problem spray the infected parts of the plant with fungicides like Bayer Fungus Fighter Plus.

Prevention of Heuchera rust

  • Increase the air circulation around your Coral Bells plant. Do not crowd them up.
  • Prune off the old, dying leaves regularly as these are the first targets of the rust fungus.

Too much sun

Light-colored Heuchera plant’s leaves turn brown if the plant gets too much sun. This is called Sunburn and it happened to one of my plants and I had to move it to a shadier place.

Heuchera is a shade-loving plant so if the problem is too much sun, move the plant to a shadier place. If moving the plant is not an option, shade it artificially.

Tip: Move the plant in the fall season, keep it well watered meanwhile.

Do heucheras like sun or shade?

Heuchera plants love to be in shady places. They are shade-loving plants after all. Leaves of Coral bells turn yellow if you give the plant more light than needed.

Why does my Heuchera have brown spots?

If you see brown spots on your Heuchera plant that do not look like rust it is probably Anthracnose disease. Anthracnose is a bacterial disease.

These Anthracnose spots develop when the humidity is higher than optimum. Such spots enlarge and cover the entire leaves eventually.

Spray your Heuchera with Chlorothalonil before the onset of the humid weather.

Too much fertilizer

Heuchera leaves turn brown if you give the plant a lot of fertilizer. Coral bells plant suffers from salt stress if overfed.

In my honest opinion, Coral Bells plant doesn’t need fertilizer to thrive. Just give the plant some compost and it’ll blossom for ages.

Get the soil tested if you’re unsure about the reason. Care well for the plant and it will bounce back.

Does Heuchera dieback in winter?

Yes, dieback in winter is natural in Heuchera. You need not panic. You don’t need to amend the situation in anyway.

Heuchera will bounce back once the winter is over. Care for your plant as usual and let it revive.

Heuchera yellow leaves

Heuchera leaves turn yellow because of underwatering. Root rot also causes the leaves to turn yellow in the Heuchera plant.

Heuchera leaves drying up

Coral Bells plant leaves turn yellow and dry up when the plant gets less water than needed. This situation is particularly seen in the summer season.

The yellow leaves of Heuchera turn pale and dry eventually. Such leaves fall off the plant. Check the soil with your fingers to see if it’s dry up to two inches.

If the soil is indeed dry then underwatering is the reason. Add a layer of organic mulch to preserve soil moisture.

How often should I water my Heucheras?

Water your Heuchera once a week. When you do, water the plant deeply. Check the soil for moisture and water if it’s dry below an inch.

Water your Heuchera early in the morning. Do not wet the leaves while watering to prevent various leaf diseases.

Root rot in Heuchera

Root rot is a fungal disease that is seen in overwatered Heuchera plants. Waterlogged conditions are the reason behind root rot.

Poorly draining soil causes waterlogged conditions. Clay soil is the least draining soil. Plant your Heuchera in a place where no puddles are formed due to rain.

Leaves turn yellow in color in the Coral Bells plant that is affected by root rot. Leaves turn yellow but droopy not dry, unlike an underwatered plant.

Treat root rot in Heuchera

Check the soil with your fingers to confirm overwatering. Transplant the plant into a pot if the plant is in soil. Try to amend the soil by adding compost to it.

If the roots are brown and mushy then the roots get rotten. Clean the rotten roots with Hydrogen peroxide and plant it in fresh soil.

Tip: Sterilize the garden tools after working on an infected plant.

Heuchera Vine Weevil

Vine weevils are the most common pest of the Coral bells plant. Vine weevils munch on the roots and leaves of Heuchera during the different phases of their lifecycle.

Larval forms of Vine weevils feed on the roots of Heuchera. These larvae pupate and feed on the leaves of the plant.

Controlling Vine weevil in Heuchera

Here are various cultural, chemical, and biological methods to control Vine weevils in your Coral Bells plant.

  • Stick PVC tape around the circumference of your Heuchera. Apply insect barrier glue along this tape.
  • Steinernema kraussei and Heterorhabditis megidis are two species of parasitic nematodes that are microscopic and get rid of a small infestation of Vine weevils completely.
  • You can put a piece of cardboard near Heuchera. These pests hide in the cardboard waiting for disposal.

Tip: When introducing nematodes near the plant make sure the area is moist so they can move easily.

Heuchera leaves curling/wilting

Heuchera leaves that curl inward are typically caused by drought stress from inadequate watering, high temperatures, or hot sunlight. Heucheras prefer consistently moist soil.

Ensure they receive 1-2 inches of water weekly, particularly during heat, to prevent wilting. Other causes include aphid infestations, fungal disease, and physiological leaf scorch.

Inspect leaves and treat any pests or diseases. Improve growing conditions by providing afternoon shade and moisture retention to prevent curly heuchera leaves.

What’s eating my Heuchera?

The most likely pests eating heuchera are slugs and snails, earwigs, vine weevils, and aphids. Slugs and snails leave behind ragged holes while earwigs cause notched edges.

Vine weevils notch outer leaves and aphids cause curled, stunted growth. Inspect undersides of leaves and new growth for pests.

Remove them by hand or use insecticidal soap sprays. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or iron phosphate bait for slugs/snails. Identify the culprit pest to best protect heuchera from further damage.

Do Slugs eat Heuchera?

Slugs do eat Heuchera leaves. They perforate the leaves of the Coral Bells plant by munching on it. Their presence can be confirmed by the slime trail they leave behind.

Slugs usually attack the plant in damp weather. Pick the slugs with your hands at night. Throw the collected slugs in a bucket of soapy water.

You can make slug traps using beer or cornmeal. Dig a small pit and place a bowl with steep edges inside the pit. Fill 3/4th of this bowl with beer.

Leave this bowl there overnight. Slugs get attracted and fall into the bowl. Collect them in the morning and feed them to birds.

Do Heuchera die back in winter?

Yes, the Heuchera plant dies back in winter. Heucheras are herbaceous perennials that die back to the ground every winter as part of their natural growth habit.

The above-ground foliage dies off completely after hard frosts or freezing temperatures arrive in fall.

The roots survive underground and new leaves regenerate in spring. Winter dieback of foliage is normal for heucheras and most varieties regrow vigorously each year.

Ensure plants are healthy going into winter. Remove dead leaves in spring to make way for new growth. Heuchera dieback is not a cause for concern.