Dicentra formosa (Pacific Bleeding Heart)

Scientific Name

Lamprocapnos spectabilis (L.) Fukuhara.

Common Names

Pacific Bleeding Heart, Western Bleeding Heart, Wild Bleeding Heart, Common Bleeding Heart

Synonyms

Fumaria formosa, Bicuculla formosa, Dicentra formosa var. formosa, Capnorchis formosa, Corydalis formosa, Diclytra formosa, Dielytra saccata

Scientific Classification

Family: Papaveraceae
Subfamily: Fumarioideae
Tribe: Fumarieae
Subtribe: Corydalinae
Genus: Dicentra

Flower

Color: Pink
Bloom Time: Mid-spring to fall

Description

Dicentra formosa is a wide-spreading, rhizomatous perennial with abundant, lobed leaves up to 18 inches (45 cm) long, mid-green above and glaucous beneath. The flowers are heart-shaped, usually pink, opening from deep rose-pink buds and bloom in clusters of 5 to 15 at the top of leafless, fleshy stems above the leaves from mid-spring to fall, with peak flowering in spring.

Dicentra formosa - Pacific Bleeding Heart
Photo via panoramio.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 4a to 8b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

In a moist and cool climate, Bleeding Heart will grow in full sun, but in warmer and drier climates, it requires some shade. Keep plants well-watered throughout the summer, especially in warmer weather. Even then, they may be ephemeral and disappear until the fall or next spring. If you've recently planted your Bleeding Heart, it would be wise to mark the spot, so you don't accidentally dig in the area while your plant is dormant. It prefers fertile, moist soil but is not particular about soil pH. Bleeding Heart is not a heavy feeder, so when to fertilize depends on the quality of your soil. If you have fertile, organic soil that is amended every year, you won't have to feed at all.

They can be started from seed, division, cutting, or seedling. It is very easy to divide Bleeding Heart plants. It should be divided after flowering, so you don't sacrifice bloom. The fringed-leaf varieties divide nicely early in spring, as they are emerging. It can also be started by seed or stem cuttings. See more at How to Grow and Care for Bleeding Heart.

Origin

Native to the Pacific Coast of North America.

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