When the Bleeding Hearts bloom you know spring is here to stay
Everyone loves Bleeding Hearts! They bloom in late spring, when the weather is settled and ‘Old Man Winter’ has finally become a distant memory.
And their dainty flowers—each reminiscent of a little pink heart with a tiny drop of blood dripping from it— are perfectly complemented by their masses of delicate fern-like leaves. Many of us are familiar with the charming ‘Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart’, where the little hearts hang down from their arching stems like charms along a necklace.
We carry many different kinds of Bleeding Hearts and their near relatives —and all make delightful additions to the spring garden. Let’s take a look!
Wild Bleeding Hearts—exquisite plants from the mountains of Appalachia
The Wild Bleeding Heart, also known as the Fringed Bleeding Heart, or even the odd-named Turkey Corn, is a North American native found in the woodlands along the spine of Appalachian Mountains, from Southwestern Pennsylvania to North Carolina.
The Wild Bleeding Heart is also quite at home in our gardens. It thrives where the soil is slightly acidic and the summers are moist and cool, each plant gradually developing into a clump up to 18 inches wide and high.
It may come as a surprise to discover that, although the Fringed Bleeding Heart is usually considered a springtime flower, it actually blooms on and off all summer long. So plant it at the front of a shady border where you can appreciate its dainty personality throughout the season.
Careful hybridization brings us new varieties of Fringed Bleeding Hearts
Plant hybridizers are always seeking the opportunity to make new and better varieties by crossing closely related plant species.
And, in the case of the Dicentra genus, they experimented with crossing the Eastern Bleeding Heart, Dicentra eximia, with its Western counterpart, Dicentra formosa, as well as with a related plant from eastern Asia—Dicentra peregrina.
The results are some captivating cultivated varieties—or cultivars as they are often called— collectively referred to as Fern-leaf Type Bleeding Hearts. These include: