Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)
The best known of this woodland species and most widely grown of all, is Dicentra spectabils, the Bleeding Heart Dicentra.
With its wonderful ferny foliage and the red and white heart shaped flowers that form on long arching stems in spring to summer.
It is a standout plant in the garden as well as a wonderful specimen when grown in a pot or container.
The blue green foliage is heavily dissected and are a useful addition to the garden alone. These plants are clump forming and will reach nearly 1m in height with a similar spread.
Available as potted plants from nurseries and garden centers in spring and are bare rooted plants by mail order when dormant in winter, well worth a place inn the garden.
Dicentra spectabils Care
Like all Dicentra, the 'Bleeding Heart' prefers a moist position, and although the mantra is that this is a shade plant, it is not for really deep shade. For good flowering dappled shade with some morning sun, or a little late afternoon sun seems to work best.
The plants will die right back in winter and this one the time to divide established clumps. As for soil, a humus rich moist soil is essential. Dig in some well rotted compost, or perhaps some coir peat. However drainage is also important to prevent rot.
Fertilize by top dressing with compost in winter, water during the growing season with a liquid seaweed fertilizer for excellent results.
Dicentra spectabils Propagation
From seed or by division of established clumps. Division is successful in spring just after flowering as well as in late winter. If dividing in late winter it may be best to 'pot up' and keep divisions in a greenhouse until new growth begins.
Dicentra spectabils Varieties
- Dicentra spectabilis alba is the white flowering form, pure white hearts
- Dicentra Spectabilis 'Goldheart' has golden foliage with pink hearts
- Dicentra spectabilis 'Valentine' is a form with deeper red hearts and the same blue green foliage as the species
- Soil to wet in winter will cause rot
- Dryness and heat in summer
- Lack of light will hold back flowering
- Dying back in winter to reappear in late spring.
- In the garden they require little care, top dress with well rotted compost or manure in late winter.
- In pots fertilize with a liquid seaweed fertilizer in early spring.
- Dicentra spectabilis do not like to dry out so water well when in active growth.
- Divide plants every 3-4 years.
You may also be interested in these ferns