Bleeding Heart: A Shade-Loving Beauty

by Amanda

There are several plants that come up and greet the gardener with the warm welcome that spring is finally here. One of these plants is the favorite Bleeding Heart, which illuminates shady areas with unique, heart-shaped blooms. These easy-to-grow perennials make a bold statement planted on their own or paired with other shade-loving perennials.

The story behind the name “Bleeding Heart” is quite interesting. The heart-shaped blooms are one reason for the name. The other comes from a Japanese legend, which is where these plants originate. It is said that a young man tried to win the love of a young lady by first giving her a pair of rabbits, which signify the first two petals of the flower, then a pair of slippers, which signify the next two petals of the flower, and finally a pair of earrings, which are the last two petals of the flower. She rejected him with each gift, eventually leading him to pierce his heart with a sword (which signifies the middle part of the flower), causing him to have a bleeding heart.

Although carrying a somewhat bleak history, Bleeding Hearts are anything but. Clumping, deep green foliage offsets the elegant, heart-shaped blooms that come in shades of white, red, and pink. These gorgeous perennials can be planted on their own, but also look fabulous grouped with FernsHostas, and Astilbe.

Bleeding Hearts are also deer resistant and attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden.

What are your favorite varieties of Bleeding Heart? Please post in the comments below or share a photo on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

bleeding heart in the garden with tulipsbleeding heart in the garden with tulips
  1. Pink Bleeding Heart, Dicentra

    Old Fashioned Pink Bleeding Heart is a popular shade perennial with arching stems of lovely, heart-shaped flowers that bloom each spring. Deeply-cut, blue green foliage remains fresh...

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    Pink Bleeding Heart Pink Common Bleeding Heart Dicentra spectabilis Pink
    As low as $11.98 Sale $7.79
    Per Bag of 1
    Old Fashioned Pink Bleeding Heart is a popular shade perennial with arching stems of lovely, heart-shaped flowers that bloom each spring. Deeply-cut, blue green foliage remains fresh and healthy throughout the summer, helping to fill out the garden bed and provide a graceful backdrop for summer blooms. A timeless classic, this plant inspires nostalgia whenever it's noticed! Deer resistant. (Dicentra spectabilis)
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  2. White Bleeding Heart White, Dicentra spectabilis, Bleeding Heart

    White Bleeding Heart makes a stunning addition to the shade or moon garden, with pure white, heart-shaped blooms that hang from arching, pale green stems. A classic choice for bright...

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    White Bleeding Heart Common Bleeding Heart White Dicentra spectabilis Alba
    $11.98 Sale $7.79
    Per Bag of 1
    White Bleeding Heart makes a stunning addition to the shade or moon garden, with pure white, heart-shaped blooms that hang from arching, pale green stems. A classic choice for brightening dark areas, plant them with ferns, hostas, and other textural shade plants that will set off their delicate blooms. Deer resistant. (Dicentra spectabilis)
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  3. Red Bleeding Heart Valentine, Dicentra spectabilis Valentine

    'Valentine' Bleeding Heart is a compact variety with dark green leaves and fragrant, deep red flowers that hang from true red stems. A newer introduction, 'Valentine' still sports th...

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    Valentine® Bleeding Heart Valentine® Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart PP#22739 Dicentra spectabilis Valentine® PP#22739
    $15.98 Sale $10.39
    Per Bag of 1
    'Valentine' Bleeding Heart is a compact variety with dark green leaves and fragrant, deep red flowers that hang from true red stems. A newer introduction, 'Valentine' still sports the delicate heart-shaped flowers that Bleeding Hearts are known for and will feel at home in any shade garden. PPAF (Dicentra spectabilis)
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  4. White Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria

    One of America's most famous wildflowers, Dutchman's Breeches is a small, wild version of Bleeding Heart, with creamy white flowers so named for their resemble to a pair of upside-do...

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    Dutchman's Breeches Dutchman's Breeches Dicentra cucullaria
    $18.98 Sale $12.34
    Per Bag of 3
    One of America's most famous wildflowers, Dutchman's Breeches is a small, wild version of Bleeding Heart, with creamy white flowers so named for their resemble to a pair of upside-down, hung-to-dry pants. Blooming in early spring, the delicate fern-like foliage lasts on, changing from a gray-green to pale yellow. A simple yet striking addition to the shade or woodland garden. (Dicentra cucullaria)
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