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DICENTRA spectabilis

Image of Dicentra spectabilis

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Fumariaceae

Botanical Name

DICENTRA spectabilis

Plant Common Name

Bleeding Heart, Old-fashioned Bleeding Heart

General Description

Old-fashioned bleeding heart, what a classic garden perennial! This large, bushy ornamental originates from northeastern Asia. In late spring to early summer it produces horizontal, slightly curved stems lined with pendulous, heart-shaped flowers. Its blooms are most commonly vibrant rose-pink with white tips, but white selections are also available. These appear against a backdrop of coarsely toothed, sea green foliage.

Bleeding heart grows best in fertile soil with average drainage. It prefers full to part sun, but does not appreciate high heat. In fact, as the summer temperatures rise plants often retreat underground until the following year. Use this fine ornamental in perennial borders and cottage gardens. Contact dermatitis occurs in some people who touch the leaves of bleeding hearts, or at least aggravates skin allergies.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Russia/Siberia, Eastern Asia, China, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Pink, Rose

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Sea Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Sea 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

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No