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DICENTRA formosa

Image of Dicentra formosa

Maureen Gilmer

Family

Fumariaceae

Botanical Name

DICENTRA formosa

Plant Common Name

Pacific Bleeding Heart, Western Bleeding Heart

General Description

This species of dicentra is a low, spreading perennial prized for its feathery leaves and clusters of heart-shaped, pendent pink flowers held above the leaves on stems that curl like a shepherd’s crook. The plant spreads by rhizomes (underground stems) to form a soft mound, and the flowers bloom in late spring to early summer. It spreads freely by seeds. Native to western North America, it is found in a range of conditions, but most often in shady spots, including woodlands.

Plant this perennial in moist, fertile, humus-rich soil in partial sun. Use it as a groundcover under trees, or for early color and soft texture in a shade garden. For an elegant contrast of habit and texture, plant it with variegated Solomon’s seal Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum.’

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade

  • Height

    16"-22" / 40.6cm - 55.9cm (18)

  • Width

    24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Western United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Rose

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Groundcover, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes