Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba'
bleeding heart (syn. Dicentra spectabilis Alba)
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: moist, humus-rich, preferably neutral to slightly alkaline
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: April to May
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Arching sprays of dainty, pure white, heart-shaped flowers appear in late spring above fern-like, fresh green leaves. Easy to grow, this elegant dicentra is ideal for illuminating a woodland garden or as part of a cottage garden scheme. As long as the ground is kept moist, it will thrive in full sun or partial shade.
Dicentras are northern hemisphere plants, growing from Asia to North America. In their natural habitat they are found in moist soils in the cool margins of woodlands. This dicentra was first introduced in 1816, then disappeared from cultivation but was reintroduced by plant collector Robert Fortune in 1846. It soon became one of the most popular garden plants. It is one of the earliest perennials into flower, but the foliage does start to die back after flowering, so it is best mixed amongst summer flowers, which can then maintain interest in the border.
- Garden care: Dicentras are happy in any good garden soil that's fertile but not too heavy. Enrich the soil with plenty of leaf mould before planting and apply a mulch in autumn too. A light fertilising in March will help enormously.
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Q:We have a Dicentra spectabilis Alba which we purchased at the end of the flowering season. It is in a pot in a fairly sunny spot.
Each year it grows into a lovely plant but so far has never flowered. What are we doing wrong?Asked on 6/2/2014 by saffy77 from Lancing, West Sussex
There are a number of reasons why plants don't flower including too much shade or not enough water or nutrients. It can also be caused by the plant putting on new root growth instead of focusing its energies on producing flowers. I am not really sure why yours has not produced buds, but given time and the right conditions, there is no reason why it wont flower. You can often give them a bit of a push by feeding during the growing season with a high potash fertiliser.Answered on 6/5/2014 by helen from crocus
I have two beautiful, huge Dicentras - one white, one pink - next to each other in a border. The problem is that they kill everything that I plant near them, just because of their size. By this time of year, now that they have both died back, I have a big empty patch in the border. Can you suggest anything that will not mind being climbed all over in the summer and that will be coming into its own at this time of year?Asked on 8/29/2006 by Jo Fantozzi
A:This is tricky, but you could underplant them with Cyclamen hederifolium. These pop up in autumn and flower through to January before dying back again for the summer. Just click on the following link to go straight to them. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/perennials/alpines/cyclamen-hederifolium-/classid.1075/Answered on 2/9/2011 by helen.derrin
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