If you want a sturdy, deer-resistant perennial for your garden, consider Bleeding Hearts! Hardy in zones 3 to 9, these herbaceous clump-forming plants are a lovely addition to any light shade or woodland border garden.
Often thought of as an old-fashioned cottage garden plant, there are now varieties of Bleeding Heart (Dicentra) that would light up any landscape. “Gold Heart”, with its chartreuse foliage, brightens shady areas and becomes a specimen plant that puts on a show of its own. “Alba” has white flowers that punctuate a planting. And “Valentine” creates depth with its darker flowers, leaves and stems. With its distinct heart-shaped flowers, Bleeding Heart will add a touch of romance to your garden.
Plant in well-drained soil and keep mulched and watered. Bleeding Heart can be ephemeral if it becomes too hot or dry. Ephemeral means the foliage dies back after the bloom period and the plant goes dormant. Don’t despair if this happens, but do mark the plant’s location so you don’t accidentally dig it up! Once the weather cools or the spring comes, the Bleeding Heart will begin to grow again. Fringed Bleeding Heart seems to be the exception and will often rebloom throughout the growing season.
Generally two to three feet tall and wide when mature, Bleeding Heart is best divided right after blooming, except for the fringed varieties – divide as they emerge in spring. There’s no need to deadhead Bleeding Heart plants and, if left to their own devices, they will often reseed. Propagation can also be done using cuttings.
With their lovely pink, white or yellow flowers, Bleeding Hearts play well with others in the flower garden border. They look especially nice with Pulmonaria, Brunnera, Hellebores, Coral Bells, Foam Flower, Astilbes, Ferns, Monkshood, Columbine and Hostas.
Here’s another post about perennial shrubs you may enjoy!