Heuchera maxima (Island Alum Root)

Scientific Name

Heuchera maxima Greene

Common Names

Island Alum Root, Channel Islands Coral Bells, Jill of the Rocks

Scientific Classification

Family: Saxifragaceae
Genus: Heuchera


Color: White or pink
Bloom Time: Spring


Heuchera maxima is a rhizomatous perennial, up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall, growing a broad patch of large, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, rounded, multilobed, dark green leaves with long petioles and a fringe of hairs along the edges. It produces an erect inflorescence up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall, with many clusters of hairy, glandular flowers. Each flower is rounded with fleshy white or pink lobes and tiny petals curling away from the center. The protruding stamens are tipped with large anthers.

Heuchera maxima - Island Alum Root
Photo via plantmaster.com

How to Grow and Care

They are generally considered easy to grow and require little routine maintenance. To encourage continuous flowering or repeat bloom, deadhead the spent flower spikes as needed. Mulching during the summer months will help keep the soil moist and prevent injury to the shallow root system from heat. Coral Bells can be divided every 3 to 4 years if they lose vigor or when the crown gets too large.

Coral Bells prefer to be planted in locations with fertile, moist, well-drained soil. They mainly do not perform well in areas with poor drainage during the winter months. Most Heuchera cultivars will grow more vigorously and have the best leaf coloration when they are planted in locations with partial shade, particularly in the afternoon. Purple leafed cultivars can tolerate more direct sun; in general, the darker the purple coloration, the more exposure to sun they can tolerate. Conversely, the amber and gold-leafed cultivars are less sun-tolerant; the more yellow the leaf coloration, the less tolerant to the sun they are. In locations with full sun or full shade, most cultivars will usually survive, but they will be smaller and not look as lively. See more at How to Grow and Care for Coral Bells.


It is endemic to the four northern Channel Islands of California, within Channel Islands National Park. It grows on canyon cliffs in coastal sage scrub habitats.


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