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Bleeding heart

Dicentra selections

Bleeding heart

It's easy to see the origin of bleeding heart's common name when you get a look at its heart-shape pink or white blooms with a protruding tip at the base of the heart. They grow best in partial to full shade in moist, well-drained soil. Some types bloom only in spring and others bloom spring, summer, and fall, provided temperatures aren't too high.

Part Sun,Shade
Plant Type:
Plant Width:
1-3 feet wide
Landscape Uses:
Containers,Beds & Borders
Special Features:
Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Cut Flowers,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow
Top Varieties

Dicentra eximia has deeply cut, blue-green foliage and pink blooms rising to 1 foot tall. It reblooms through summer and fall as long as temperatures are not excessively hot. It is native to the Eastern U.S. Zones 4-8
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Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart' offers a dramatic color combination. It pairs chartreuse foliage with pink blooms to stunning effect. Zones 3-9
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Dicentra 'King of Hearts' produces a mound of blue-green foliage 6-8 inches tall and masses of pink blooms in spring and again in late summer and fall. Zones 4-8
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Dicentra formosa 'Langtrees' is a white form with ferny blue-green leaves. Like fringed bleeding heart, it blooms nearly continuously if weather conditions remain cool. Zones 4-8
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Dicentra spectabilis is a 2- to 3-foot-tall springtime bloomer with long arching branches of dangling heart-shape blooms. It usually goes dormant in summer, so pair it with a plant that will fill in its space later in the year. Zones 3-9
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Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba' has the same qualities as regular old-fashioned bleeding heart except its flowers are pure white. Zones 3-9
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Plant It With

Large hostas, such as Siebold hosta are excellent at filling in the void left when old-fashioned bleeding heart dies back to the ground in midsummer.

Heart-leaf brunnera

Heart-leaf brunnera makes a lovely combination with bleeding heart. Its bold foliage provides a contrast to the finely divided leaves of bleeding heart, while its airy blue flowers float above.


Lungwort makes an excellent foreground plant for bleeding heart. It blooms at the same time, but carries interest through summer with its silver-splotched foliage.