Simply The Best Natives-Wild Bleeding Heart


“Let us decide on the route that we wish to take to pass our life, and attempt to sow that route with flowers.”  ~Madame du Chatelet




I have always loved Bleeding Hearts, but the Asian Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) has not adapted to my garden easily.  So I thought I would add a native Bleeding Heart, in hopes it would grow more readily.  I decided on Fringed or Wild Bleeding Heart, ordered some bare root plants last year, and over wintered them in pots.  This year they grew beautifully and filled out in their large containers.

DSCN3496Even though I have already profiled one native Dicentra (Dicentra cucullaria) this year,  I thought Wild Bleeding Heart would make another wonderful plant to highlight for this series.  Known as Dicentra eximia, they are part of the Fumitory Family (Fumariaceae).  Sometimes called Turkey Corn, they grow 1-2 feet high and wide.  I hope to see my new plants put on a display of mounding, gray-green, ferny leaves and drooping clusters of white to magenta-pink hearts, once planted out next spring.

Unlike the Asian Bleeding Heart, this plant will bloom for months from early spring through summer, and with pruning can bloom sporadically right to the first frost.  Also the leaves will stay evergreen through most of the growing season.

Wild Bleeding Heart is native to the wooded slopes in the eastern US, from Vermont to Illinois and south to the mountains of Georgia and Tennessee, found mostly throughout the Appalachian Mountains.  There are some schools of thought that say, north of Pennsylvania, this plant is naturalized instead of being native.

amandaAs I profile this wonderful native plant, I am linking in with Gail@Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday meme, and Diana@Elephant’s Eye at False Bay for her Dozen for Diana monthly meme. And I am joining forces once again this year with a local native plant nursery, Amanda’s Garden, to buy native plants for my garden.  The owner, Ellen Folts, specializes in woodland, prairie and wetland native perennials.  Check out their Spring 2016 catalog.




Growing Conditions

DSCN4230Wild Bleeding Heart grows in zones 3 to 9, and prefers shade and part shade, in rich, moist, well-drained soil.  It will tolerate more sun if kept moist.  Once established, this Bleeding Heart will tolerate occasional periods of drought, and does not like wet, winter soil.

It is best to divide this plant every few years in early spring.  You can also find transplants around the plant from seeds dropping.  Like many native wildflowers, the seeds are covered with sticky elaiosome that attracts ants.  When the ants take the seeds to their nests, they distribute the seeds around the garden.

Wild Bleeding Hearts can be bothered by slugs, aphids, downy mildew, rust and other fungal diseases especially if not planted in ideal conditions.




Benefits to Wildlife DSCN4111

Wild Bleeding Heart’s nectar attracts hummingbirds and long-tongued native bumblebees.  

Hummers rely on its nectar, early in the garden season, when they are migrating.

The plant is rabbit and deer-resistant.





DSCN3782This native Bleeding Heart is a perfect addition to a wildflower, woodland or shade garden.  It is not aggressive, so it won’t take over an area, but they will naturalize and fill in.

It is a perfect accent plant or groundcover in a Cottage garden too.  Heucheras, Tiarellas, ferns and short grasses, like Carex, make great companion plants.  

I am thinking of planting mine in my part shade Wall Garden.




Folklore and Tales 

Dicentra is derived from the Greek for two-spurred, and the Latin word for hood.  The name eximia means “distinguished” in Latin. 

The root of Wild Bleeding Heart has been used as a diuretic by healers.

This plant can cause a toxic reaction if ingested, and the sap can also cause skin irritation with repeated contact so be careful.



Do you grow any native wildflowers?  What is your favorite summer wildflower? 

bleeding heart collage




In A Vase On Monday 



After seeing the delphiniums blooming next to the Oakleaf hydrangea, I knew what I would be collecting for my vase this week.  And such a majestic vase had to be placed on the mantel.





I added a bit of white phlox  in the back of the vase.  And in the front of the vase, I left a bit of room for the Nigella that are finally blooming in my new Fruit Bed.  I read that strawberries and Nigella love to be planted near each other, and wow are my strawberries loving these flowers too.  The new strawberry plants are growing big and already spreading and putting on a second flush of flowers and fruit.  Can’t wait to harvest a few more late strawberries.





Queen Anne’s Lace has started to bloom all over, and I wanted to include some in a vase.  I also saw lots of daisies blooming with other white blooms.  So I thought these would make a nice little vase of white blooms to grace my sacred space.




white vase

I included one bloom from my new, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’.  Also in the vase are the white blossoms of the groundcover, Houttuynia cordata although the foliage is no longer variegated.  And a few blooms of Lychnis coronaria ‘Alba’.  I love the look of this lacy, lovely vase.


I am joining in with Cathy@Rambling in the Gardenfor her wonderful meme In A Vase On Monday, as I create these vases this week.  Check out what creative vases other bloggers are putting together.



Next up on the blog:  

Monday I will finally have an update on my front Sidewalk Garden.  It has taken me a lot longer to really clear and prune this overgrown garden.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her blog, Rambling Woods.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday. 

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