Bleeding hearts, the poetically named perennials, have heart-shaped pendant pink or white flowers with spurs at the base and fernlike attractive foliage. Dicentra spectabilis is the showiest, but its flowers finish in spring and its foliage disappears in midsummer. Other species continue to bloom all summer.
How to grow: Bleeding hearts need open or partial shade with an evenly moist, slightly acidic soil. Plenty of peat moss must be used when planting. Pine needles or pine bark are good for mulching.
Propagation: By division in early spring or from seed; roots are fleshy and sold by the number of eyes present on plant starts. Transplant self-sown plants.
Uses: This plant is a lovely sight when planted in a shady bed or woodland border.
Related species: Dicentra eximia, the fringed bleeding heart, will bloom until frost if given protection from the heat. Dicentra formosa is a rose-colored species and is about 18 inches high. Dicentra spectabilis is the garden favorite with deep pink or white flowers blooming from May to June on arching 24-inch stems. Dicentra scandens is a climber with yellow flowers.
Scientific name: Dicentra species