Imagine: “I need plants that will make me smile,” my friend said.
“No problem,” I replied. “Let’s start with bleeding heart.”
Name: Lamprocapnos spectabilis aka Dicentra spectabilis aka bleeding heart or old-fashioned bleeding heart.
Type of Plant: This is a very hardy perennial, that will not only return year after year when it’s happy, but can also gently self-seed around the garden. This plant will grow in sun to part-shade, but do best in gardens that don’t go completely dry.
Why I love this plant: There aren’t many plants that have flowers that look like fine jewelry, but this is one. It’s easy to love because it flowers early in the spring when we most need blossoms. The flowers are kind of heart or locket shaped, and they dangle from the stem like charms on a necklace.
A Word to the Wise: This plant likes amended but well-drained soils. I’ve found that an application of composted manure around the plants results in stronger growth. Secondly, this plant doesn’t like heat and will go dormant in mid-summer when it’s planted in a sunny location or if it’s grown in a hot climate. This isn’t a problem; when the foliage of the bleeding heart starts to turn yellow, cut it to the ground and plant annuals on the sides and to the front of the plant. The annuals will carry the garden into the fall while the bleeding heart takes a break.
GardenLine Listeners! This morning you heard about Donna Balzer’s book, Gardener’s Gratitude Journal. Find it here.