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Zones A1-A3, 1-9, 14-24, 31-40, 42-45
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Moderate

Dicentra

Bleeding Heart
Fumariaceae
Deciduous, Perennials

Delicate looking plants. Graceful, divided, fernlike foliage. Dainty pendent flowers, usually heart shaped, in pink, rose, yellow, or white on leafless, horizontal to arching stems. In general, dicentras need rich, light, moist, porous soil. Never let water stand around roots. Foliage dies down even in mild-winter climates; mark clumps to avoid digging into roots in dormant season. Short lived in mild-winter areas.

Dicentra chrysantha

Native to inner coast ranges and Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Erect plant with sparse, blue-gray, divided leaves on stout,hollow, 4–5-ft. stems. Golden yellow, short-spurred flowers,held upright in large clusters.Grows to 1 1/2 ft. wide. Requireswarmth. Unlike many dicentras,this species needs soil that isnot too rich; make sure drainageis good. Plant has deep taproot and does not need irrigation during its flowering in spring and summer. Seed available from wildflower specialists.

Dicentra eximia

Native to northeastern U.S. Forms tidy clump 1–1 1/2 ft. high and wide. Blue-gray basal leaves are more finely divided than those of D. formosa. Deep rose-pink flowers with short, rounded spurs bloom from midspring into summer. Cut back for second growth and occasional repeat bloom. Does not spread by rhizomes but may extend itself by self-sowing.

Dicentra formosa

Native to moist woods along Pacific Coast. To 1 1/2 ft. high, 3 ft. or wider. Blue-green foliage. Inspring, leafless flower stalkshold clusters of pendulous paleor deep rose flowers on reddishstems. Spreads freely by rhizomes and seeding, forminglarge colonies. ‘Bacchanal’ hasfinely cut, gray-green leaves anddark red flowers. ‘Langtrees’has silvery green foliage andwhite flowers shaded pink.‘Zestful’ is everblooming, withdeep rose flowers. D. f. oregana grows to 1 ft. high, has silvery green leaves and cream-colored flowers that are tipped with purple.

Dicentra hybrid

D. eximia and D. formosa cross freely to yield hybrids, many of which have been named. The most commonly cultivated grow 1 to 1 1/2 ft. high and 1 1/2 to 2 ft. across (eventually spreading more widely) and bloom from spring into summer.

Dicentra spectabilis
Dicentra spectabilis

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Dicentra spectabilis

Native to Japan. Old garden favorite; showiest and largest-leafed of all bleeding hearts. To 2–3 ft. high, 3 ft. wide; stems are set with soft green leaves. Blooms in late spring, bearing flowers on one side of arching stems—rose pink, pendulous, heart shaped, with protruding white inner petals.

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