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The Plant Guide

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Bleeding heart

Dicentra spectabilis

dy-SEN-trah spek-TAB-il-iss

A garden favorite for many years, bleeding heart has soft green foliage and 1-inch-long rose pink and white heart-shaped flowers for several weeks in spring. Plants can form clumps 3 feet across and almost as tall. Foliage generally goes dormant in summer, so be sure to choose companion plants carefully so there isn’t an empty space left in the garden. Beautiful in a border or woodland garden.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsArching stems of little pink hearts that "bleed" white.

CareGrow in moist, humusy soil in part shade. Can take full sun in reliably moist soil. Prefers neutral or slightly alkaline pH. Protect from wind and frost.

PropagationSow seed in containers in a cold frame as soon as ripe or in spring. Divide carefully in early spring or after the leaves have died down. Insert root cuttings in winter.

ProblemsDowny mildew, Verticillium wilt, viruses, rust, and fungal leaf spots can occur. Slugs and snails may eat new growth.

  • Genus : Dicentra
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer, Late Spring, Spring, Summer
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Flower Color : Pink, White
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest

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