With a common name like bleeding heart, you know that Dicentra is an old fashioned, romantic perennial! The upside-down heart shaped blooms dangle in delicate rows from branches of dewy green. This is one of the first perennials to sprout in spring, sending up tender but sturdy stalks that quickly grow into an upright graceful clump parading exquisite blooms. ‘Common’ bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) has the classic candy pink blooms with white accents, and the ‘alba’ form is pristine white. There are many species of Dicentra, including Dicentra exima with lacey, fern-like leaves. One of my favourite cultivars is Dicentra spectabilis ‘Valentine’, with red blooms and maroon stems, and ‘Gold Heart’ with chartreuse foliage. While bleeding heart is drought resistant, it prefers moist soil. Given a moist, cool location, it will bloom past spring well into summer, and you can avoid it browning and dying back. This easy care perennial is a favourite shade garden option.
Technical stuff – Bleeding heart/Dicentra, hardy perennial to zone 3, height and spread of 12”-36”, part shade to shade, prefers moist soil, blooms spring into summer. Note - Dicentra has been reclassified as Lamprocapnos, but is still commonly labeled by the old classification.