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. 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 $12.99
    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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