Bleeding Heart Plants

Great for borders or containers

Dicentra is a genus of approximately 20 or more species of herbaceous annuals and perennials, commonly called bleeding hearts. These flowering woodland plants grow best in light shade and typically bloom in late spring and early summer, but some cultivars reemerge after summer dormancy to rebloom in fall. The puffy, heart-shaped flowers can be red, pink, purple, or white. They dangle along elegant, arching, leafless stems; attract butterflies and hummingbirds; and last up to 2 weeks in floral displays. But the plants are attractive when not in bloom, and some exhibit colorful spring foliage.

Common or old-fashioned bleeding heart (D. spectabilis) and Pacific bleeding heart or western fringed bleeding heart (D. formosa) are the 2 most popular species for home gardens. The plants grow quickly, ranging in size from about 1 foot to 3 feet, tall and wide. Common bleeding heart tends to be taller than Pacific bleeding heart, which is also rhizomatous and spreads slowly. Cold hardy, bleeding hearts grow best in cool, moist climates in locations with humus-rich soil that drains well. They will not tolerate wet feet for long. Although considered shade plants, some morning sun may be beneficial. The plants are low maintenance and deer resistant.