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Common Bleeding Heart, or Dicentra Spectabilis, is the sweet shade plant with the melancholy name.

Dicentra It is a native of Asia and features deep pink, heart-shaped flowers from which hang a white teardrop. The blooms swing like ornaments from arching branches 2' to 3' long. The leaves are airy and fern-like.

Dicentra In temperate zones, Bleeding Heart can be grown as a perennial, but the practice in colder climes is to pot up new roots each year and discard old plants in early summer after they bloom.

There are Dicentras which are native to North America as well, and recent years have brought numerous varieties to the nursery table. Pure whites and pale pinks are highly prized by the shade gardener, but most folks know that Dicentra can be choosy about where it will thrive. Cool, moist areas seem most suited to Bleeding Heart plants, but one has to be careful not to overwater, lest the roots rot. Dicentras of all kinds make wonderful companion plants to ferns, Hostas, Ajuga, and Pieres. A rampant bed of them is an unforgettable sight, and is sure to provide woodland charm to any garden.

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