Flowers & Garden


Garden Flowers ~ spring-flowering bleeding heart!

Heart-shaped flowers brighten your flower garden!

The spring-flowering bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis, is an old- fashioned garden favorite. It is noted for its beautiful heart-shaped flowers that hang from flowering stalks like pendants.

The flowers also resemble a double winged lyre. Thus, another common name is the lyre flower. The bleeding heart has been referred to as "the living valentine." There are white varieties, which are not as vigorous as the pink. The plants are 18 to 24 inches high.

The bleeding heart belongs in a shade garden with rich, well-drained soil that has lots of humus. Partial shade is ideal. Typically, when the weather turns hot in early summer, this plant goes dormant unless adequate water is provided. Usually bleeding hearts are gone by the middle of July.

The wild bleeding heart, Dicentra eximia, also known as fern-leaf bleeding heart and fringed bleeding heart, will hang around throughout the growing season. It has smaller heart-shaped flowers than the common bleeding heart. The compact 12- to 18-inch bushy plants continue to bloom off and on all summer. This plant self-seeds freely.

In comparison, the bleeding heart has much larger flowers than the wild bleeding heart. The foliage of the wild bleeding heart is fine-textured and more attractive than the bleeding heart.

The bleeding heart goes dormant in early summer, while the wild bleeding heart continues to grow until fall.

The bleeding heart probably grows best in a shady, wildflower garden. The wild bleeding heart will do well in a shady perennial border. Just looking at the names, it would seem like the bleeding heart would be more at home in the perennial border and the wild bleeding heart more suited for the wildflower garden.