Where to plant coral bells depends somewhat on where you live. In colder climates, darker-leaf varieties like ‘Wildberry’ can easily tolerate all-day sun if the soil stays moist. But in warm climates, that same plant would get a sunburn if you left it out in the sun all day. Once you’ve grown coral bells, you’ll get a feel for where they work best in your garden.
To be safe, choose a spot in part shade that sees 4 to 6 hours of morning sun and has some protection during the hottest part of the day. The foliage color will be brightest in such a setting, though ‘Wildberry’ will also retain its color nicely when grown in full shade.
Coral bells enjoy having moist soil around their fibrous roots, but they detest sitting in standing water so make sure to choose a spot where the soil is well-drained. If the roots sit wet for too long, especially in the winter, they tend to rot, and the plant suffers. Amending your soil with compost, humus or shredded leaves can help improve the drainage.
If you live someplace where the ground freezes in winter, try to plant your new coral bells by early summer to give the plant plenty of time to anchor its new roots into the soil. If you live in a more mild climate, you can safely plant your coral bells in the spring and fall.
If the roots are densely circled around when you take the plant out of the pot, loosen them up with your fingers a bit to break the “root memory”. This will encourage them to grow outward instead of continuing to grow in a circular pattern.
Set the plant in the hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the top of the surrounding soil, then backfill the hole. Press it down with your hand firmly to eliminate any big air pockets around the roots. Finally, water the plant to help the soil settle around the plant.