BLEEDING HEART (Dicentra spectabilis)
A native of Japan, this beautiful delicate perennial produces arching branches with sprays of dangling heart-shaped flowers that are pink with white tips or solid white. The plant will bloom in the spring through summer and once established is relatively trouble-free. Bleeding heart is hardy to zone 3 -9 and will tolerate the cold winters in Northern states.
Bleeding heart can be planted in the spring or fall in moist, rich, well-drained soil and in semi-shade to shade. Plant it in an area where is gets direct sun early in the day and avoid the midday full sun, as that will cause the foliage to dieback prematurely. Maintain even moisture during the growing season. If needed place a layer of 1-2 inches of mulch around the plant away from the base to keep the soil evenly moist.
When the hot summer sets in, the foliage will turn yellow, die back and go into summer dormancy.
Divide the plant in the spring every 5 years to reduce overcrowding and produce new plants. You can also divide in the fall after the foliage dies back. A mature plant will produce seeds making more give away plants.
Bleeding heart is relatively disease free except for wilt and stem rot caused by a fungus from growing in water-logged, wet soil.
Note – All parts of this plant are poisonous.