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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bleeding Hearts by Color

Dicentra spectabilis, more commonly known as Bleeding Hearts is a perennial that I just adore. My gardens are filled with them, they bloom for such a long time in the spring. The only downfall is that their foliage dies off when the temperatures get hot so you are left with a large "dead" spot in your garden. It takes a bit of experementation but eventually you will find companion perennials that will fill in that spot later in the season.

One of the most cool things about bleeding hearts is that you can tell what color they are as soon as they start pushing out of the soil. I wish other perennials were this easy to identify!

The first photo shows the emerging shoot of a pink bleeding heart.

This is what the blooms will look like later in the spring. Aren't they magnificent?

Here you can see the color change in the emerging shoots of a white bleeding heart.

This photo was shot exactly one year ago. Aparently we are a bit behind last year as I haven't seen this in the garden yet.

Going through three years of perennial photos it was amazing to me that I could find lots of photos of the pink Dicentras but this was the only photo I could find of a white Dicentra. I grow lots of both of them so I will have to make an effort to take some better photos this year.

If you've ever wondered how to divide a Dicentra spectabilis, scroll down the right side of my blog and click on "How to Divide Perennials" under the catagory "Labels". You will see what the root system of a bleeding heart looks like. They are quite different from most perennials and so I used to think they were finicky. The truth is that they divide easily as along as you divide them early in their growth stage. In my experience, they immediately take off and bloom like nothing ever happened to them.

Another note I would make about bleeding hearts is that they appreciate more sunlight then I was led to believe. If you live in a warmer climate (I am on Long Island, just east of New York City), you might have a different experience. Here though, I've grown bleeding hearts in full sun and they grow quickly to epic proportions! The ones in the shade bloom as well but take much longer to clump up.

Off to spend some glorious time cleaning up winter debris,


Blossom said...

Love the pink ones.

our friend Ben said...

I have pink and white and love them both, too, Melanie, but never realized that the shoots revealed the bloom color before! Thanks for sharing this. Because my garden is both coolr (PA) and shaded, the bleeding heart foliage stays blue-green all season, only dying back when everything else does in fall. And, to my delight, I've found that the plants self-sow! Hey, you can never have too many...

MNGarden said...

I would love to have my garden filled with BH. I add some each year. I'm working on it. The ones I have planted are still there but I would not say they are increasing at the rate I would like. Still we have a long spring and I am eager to get these established in the garden. I have white and now am adding the pink so thanks for the info on how to determine the color from the sprout color.

Gail said...

Melanie, I am trying to remember why I haven't this beauty in my wildflower garden! I really like D eximia and don't have that one either! On the list! It would be nice if other perennials heralded their colors as nicely! gail

flowrgirl1 said...

thanks for the post. I love bleeding heart but have none. not sure why. I will have to change that this year!

lynn'sgarden said...

Hi Melanie, I am soooo glad to meet you! I must find time to read your archives...your photos (what I've seen) are really great! Our lives are parallel in many ways. My daughters are 18 and 14, I've worked as a floral designer and I LOVE daylilies! I'm a mile off exit 18 on 78W. I will definitely get some nurseries' info together for you and share some of my favorite shopping spots. Will definitely add you on my favorite link list!

Laura said...

There was a White Bleeding Heart in a container at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show; I have a picture of it posted on my blog.

My Bleeding Heart is planted in shade; maybe I'll try one in more sun. Thanks for the tip!

sweet bay said...

I love those bleeding hearts, both the white and the pink. I will have to look at the division instructions.

Anonymous said...

Does any one know if bleeding hearts come in yellow? I would love to plant some but the only pictures I can find look suspicious... Also I know of yellow "bleeding heart" except the blooms look nothing like real ones, I'd like to know it there are yellow ones that actually look like the original.