White heart-shaped lockets flutter above compact, ferny foliage over a long season. Plants flower for months, and are lovely paired with Athyrium 'Ghost.' PP 15,599
About 15 species make up this genus of perennials native to Asia and North America. The common name derives from the unusual heart shape of the flowers. All prefer evenly moist soil and little or no direct sun. They're a boon to gardeners with shade.
For more information on growing Dicentra, click Growing Guide.
HOW PLANTS ARE SHIPPED
The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship these perennials and annuals in 1 pint pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting, but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience. We ship bulbs as dormant, bare bulbs, sometimes with some wood shavings or moss. Shrubs, Roses, vines, and other woody plants may be shipped bareroot or in pots. The size of the pot is noted in the quick facts for each item.
WHEN WE SHIP
We ship our bulbs and plants at the right time for planting in your area, except as noted, with orders dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis by climate zone. Estimated dates for shipping are indicated in the Shipping Details box for each item. Please refer to the Shipping Details box to determine the earliest shipping time. Unless you specify otherwise, fertilizers, tools, and other non-plant items are shipped with your plants or bulbs. Please supply a street address for delivery. Kindly contact us with two weeks notice, if you'll be away at expected time of delivery.
We guarantee to ship plants that are in prime condition for growing. If your order is damaged or fails to meet your expectations, we will cheerfully replace or refund it. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-503-9624 or email us at [email protected]. Please include your order number or customer number when contacting us.
Latin Name Pronunciation: dye-sen'-truh
These delicate-looking plants are actually sturdy and trouble-free additions to the perennial border or woodland garden. An old-fashioned beauty, Dicentra spectabilis bears arching stems of pendant, puffy heart-shaped blooms in pink or white and can grow to three feet tall and as wide where happy. The longer-blooming, shorter forms boast attractive green to blue-green foliage that is lovely in the garden from spring to fall. Both types make excellent cut flowers.
Planting: Potted Dicentra should be planted with the crown at soil level. Bareroot Dicentra spectabilis should be planted with the crown 2″ below the soil line, but the crown of smaller bareroot varieties should be 1″ below the soil line.
Light/Watering: Bleeding Heart thrives in partial to full shade, although flowering is best with morning sun and afternoon shade. Consistent watering is best for all; D. spectabilis will go dormant during dry conditions in summer.
Fertilizer/Soil and pH: These plants are at their best in evenly moist, rich soil in partial to full shade. A two-inch layer of mulch will help buffer soil moisture and keep the ground cooler. A slightly acidic soil (pH 6.0 to 6.5) is ideal, but plants will tolerate a pH up to 7.5. Apply compost or a general purpose, granular fertilizer in spring.
Pests/Diseases: Dicentra is occasionally bothered by slugs and snails, but this is rarely a serious problem. If grown in poorly drained, wet soil, the crowns of the plants may rot. Avoid these soils and allow good air circulation. Keep mulch several inches away from the base of the plants.
Companions: Dicentra is lovely with other denizens of light shade such as Aquilegia, Ferns, Tiarella, Campanula, Alchemilla, Phlox divaricata, and Pulmonaria, and truly enlivens woodland gardens. Plant D. spectabilis with Hosta or spreading perennial Geraniums, or fill in with annuals when this plant goes dormant in summer.
Reflowering: The smaller varieties of Dicentra will bloom right up until frost in temperate climates, especially if old flower stems are removed. In areas with very hot summers, flowering may stop but will resume with cooler weather. Regular removal of yellowing foliage will keep plants looking fresh.
Dividing/Transplanting: If desired, plants can be gingerly divided in early spring; gently separate the brittle roots, replanting vigorous pieces from the outer edge of the plant.
End-of-Season Care: Remove dead foliage after a killing frost in autumn, or anytime it becomes unattractive. A light mulch after the ground freezes will protect from winter heaving.
Calendar of Care
Early Spring: Apply a light application of balanced or slow-release fertilizer or side-dress with compost and organic amendments when new growth appears. Water well if it is unseasonably dry, as plants prefer evenly moist soil. Divide or transplant if needed as soon as you see new growth.
Mid-Spring: Watch for snail or slug damage and treat accordingly with baits or by handpicking. Apply a two-inch organic mulch as soon as soil warms, keeping the material away from the crowns of the plants.
Late Spring: Water regularly if the season is dry.
Summer: Plant summer annuals to fill in gaps where Dicentra spectabilis has gone dormant. Groom plants to keep them attractive by removing yellowing leaves and old flower stems.
Fall: Cut foliage back to soil level, and apply a winter mulch after the ground freezes.