Dicentra spectabilis

Showy Bleeding Heart
Binomial:Dicentra spectabilis
Type:Herbaceous perennial
Light requirements:Light to medium shade
Water requirements:Keep soil moist but not wet
Soil requirements:Rich, deep, organic soils
USDA Hardiness Zone:3-9
Forcing:Can be forced
Pest issues:Slugs can be a problem on young foliage
Disease issues:Rare, but serious when present
Bloom season:Mid spring to early summer

Dicentra spectabilis also known as Venus's car, bleeding heart, or lyre flower, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to eastern Asia from Siberia south to Japan.

Description edit

This species of bleeding heart can grow to 60–140 cm tall and has pinnately compound leaves with ternately compound leaflets (leaflets that come in threes). The flowers are pendulous, shaped much like hearts, produced in a raceme bearing 3-15 individual flowers, each one 2–3 cm long, with pink outer petals and white inner petals. The flowering season is from early spring to mid summer.

Growing conditions edit

It can be a full sun plant if in a cool area but in a warm climate, prefers semi-shaded areas. It needs to be kept moist and prefers neutral to alkaline soil with good drainage although these plants can tolerate heavy clay soil as well.

Varieties edit

The cultivar 'Alba' has pure white flowers

Several cultivars have been selected, including 'Alba', with pure white flowers, and 'Goldheart', a relatively new cultivar developed at Hadspen Garden in England and introduced in 1997 with fuchsia-coloured flowers that drop from the stem in a row, and yellow foliage that turns lime green by mid summer.

Uses edit

It is a popular ornamental plant for flower gardens in temperate climates, and is also used as a cut flower.

Maintenance edit

Cut down foliage after it has gone completely yellow.

Propagation edit

blossoms of Dicentra spectabilis

Propagation is by sowing the seeds when fresh. It can also be divided, preferably in the late fall or early spring. However, contact with the plant can cause skin irritation because the entire plant is toxic, so should be handled with gloves and long sleeves.

Pests and diseases edit

See Dicentra for a list of pests and diseases.

References edit