Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart
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Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts If you have never grown a Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis), I hope you can make room for one this year. Each spring it is the most charming and beautiful plant in my garden. It was the first flower my daughter noticed as a baby, and though I have never seen them, I am sure there must be fairies lurking amidst it's stems. The blossoms truly are heart shaped and they hang daintily along curved stems.

Each year it grows taller and wider, but that's fine, because there are more blooms! The proper name for this variety with white (alba), or my favorite, dark pink blooms is Dicentra spectabilis. It grows to about 2 foot tall, but I have read of plants that under the right conditions will grow taller. I currently have one old fashioned bleeding heart, and three Dicentra formosa or fern leaved bleeding hearts, a smaller, more fern looking flower that takes up less room. It too is charming, scattered among the woodland plants.

The common bleeding heart does need it's own space-at least 1-2 foot around, and d. formosa will grow quite a bit shorter and not as wide. Plant both in partial shade where the soil is rich and not too dry. Choose a spot that will be a permanent location and plant carefully, because the roots are rather brittle and don't like to be disturbed. You can replant broken roots, but they may take up to 2 years before blooming.

Though, I have moved my d. formosa with success by digging wide around the roots and carefully replanting. You can buy bare roots or plants from a garden center in the spring. As the days heat up, common bleeding heart will stop blooming and the foliage will turn brown. At this point cut it back. I grow lilies near mine and sometimes plant shallow rooted annuals in front of it after it dies back. D. formosa will bloom all summer long until frost if you deadhead the blooms.

However you use it in your landscape, bleeding heart truly is a garden treasure. It's worth finding the right location in your garden, because it will reward you with it's enchanting and whimsical blossoms each year!

Image: Wikimedia.org


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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