Plant of the Month: Dicentra

Our plant for the month of May is one of our favourites here at 4AllSeasons. Today I shall be writing about the beautiful Dicentra, or as it’s more commonly known: the bleeding heart.

Dicentra spectabilis (Lamprocapnos) - Bleeding Heart plant in Bud - Garden  Plants

The genus has eight different species, mostly similar looking, but unique in several ways. What they all have in common is that they all have oddly shaped flowers (which resemble hearts), finely divided leaves, and they grow on leafless stalks. The flowers are originally native to East Asia and North America having been found in areas like the Appalachian Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, Japan, and the Kuril Islands. The plants tend to be found in high elevations, particularly on mountains.

The flowers on these plants are particularly stunning and come in a variety of different colours including blue, white, pink, red, and in some cases black, which are particularly striking.

If you want to grow these beauties in your garden (and you definitely should consider it!) they do prefer shady, cooler spots. They can be grown in full sun, but if it gets too hot early in the season (bear in mind these flowers bloom in the Spring, normally in April and May) then their soil will have to be kept very moist. Adding leaf mould really benefits these flowers as you plant them as well as it helps them retain moisture. It’s also important not to disturb these flowers if you can avoid it as they have deep, brittle roots and can be prone to breaking.

Bleeding Heart | Old Farmer's Almanac

Being deciduous in nature, these plants will lie dormant after their blooming season before growing back the next Spring.

Unlike some of the other plants previously featured, it’s worth pointing out that ALL parts of the Dicentra are poisonous to consume and are therefore not edible. You also need to be careful when handling Dicentra’s as they have also been known to cause skin irritation. These plants definitely live up to their common name, don’t they!?

They are definitely worth adding to your garden if you don’t have them already. They are truly stunning plants and are definitely as popular as they are for a good reason.