bleeding heart (syn. Dicentra spectabilis)
Showy, arching stems of pendant pink and white lockets from April until June and good green foliage - but please cover on frosty nights
- 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, rose-pink, heart-shaped flowers appear in late spring above fern-like, fresh green leaves. Easy to grow, it looks fabulous planted in groups towards the front of a shady border 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.
- Garden care: Dicentras are happy in any good garden soil that is 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:Why is my Dicentra not flowering?
I have 2 Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra) - the pink is great and flowering well - situated in sun / partial shade. The white flowering variety is a lovely green bush - but no flowers this year or last year - situated at the other end of the bed. Any suggestions please? SarahAsked on 6/15/2009 by Anonymous
A:Hello Sarah, There are a number of reasons why plants don't flower including too much shade or not enough water or nutrients. If they are newly planted 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 flowers, but there is no reason why it wont if given the right conditions and you can often give them a bit of a push by feeding with a high potash fertiliser. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 6/16/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
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
Q:What can I plant in my planting bed?
I have lost a plant in the middle of a border and am left with an unsightly hole which I would like to fill with some colour again. It is a narrow border so I don't want anything too large - probably no bigger than 50x50 cm. It is a mixed shrub/perennial border of pink, blue and white, which gets lots of sun and tends to be fairly dry - the soil is clay. The surrounding plants are perennial cornflower, hardy geraniums and osteospermum. Can you recommend something which will quickly fill the gap?Asked on 6/21/2006 by Annabelle Coombs
A:There are some lovely plants that would be suitable for the spot you described. Just click on the link below each plant name to find out more about that particular one. Agastache Blue Fortune http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/selectionresults/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=208&CategoryID= Dicentra spectabilis http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/geranium-macrorrhizum-white-ness/classid.2000015973/ http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/selectionresults/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=2839&CategoryID= Geranium maculatum Elizabeth Ann http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/selectionresults/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=2000005206&CategoryID= Polemonium caeruleum http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/selectionresults/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=3456&CategoryID= Sanguisorba albiflora http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/selectionresults/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=3564&CategoryID=Answered on 6/26/2006 by Crocus
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