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How To Grow Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’, Now Called Lamprocapnos: A Bleeding Heart Valentine’s Day Post!

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Dicentra 'Gold Heart', Bleeding Heart Plant

Dicentra Spectablis

My favorite early spring flower in the garden is without a doubt a special Bleeding Heart formerly known as Dicentra spectablis ‘gold heart’, Latin genus title just recently changed to Lamprocapnos spectablis. As you can see above, it is a breath of fresh air in the early garden.

In the photo above you see a plant from my zone 5b back garden around May 3 of 2009 – hostas and daffodils are just now leafing out, while bright pink hearts smother this impressive plant. They do great in clay soil and as a specimen lamprocapnos bleeding heart are graceful woodland plants that prefer part shade. Nodding, heart-shaped, rose-pink flowers (1” long) are featured on long, arching racemes which bloom at or slightly above the foliage mound in early to late spring.

How to Grow Bleeding Hearts:Bleeding Heart Flower, dicentra spectablis

  1. Choose the right bleeding heart for your garden. Lamprocapnos ‘formosa’ is short, for instance, while lamprocapnos ‘spectablis’ can grow over two feet tall. Bleeding Heart  typically do well in zones 3 through 9.
  2. Plant in shade to part-shade – early spring if possible. Bleeding Hearts prefer well drained soil, but adding lots of rotted manure at planting time helps holds moisture and fertilizes organically.
  3. Compost and mulch regularly around the base of the plant as the plant does better if well watered – compost and mulch helps retain that moisture.
  4. First year plants require regular watering. After that, only water during the hot and dry seasons.
  5. Towards very late summer or in intense heat the plant collapses entirely without proper water and looks like it is dead. It simply goes dormant at this time and will return in the spring.

Interesting Fact – – Bleeding hearts were called “Lady-In-The-Bath” by gardeners from the Victorian Era for obvious reasons. If you turn a bleeding heart flower upside down and spread it apart it looks like a lady sitting in a bathtub.

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  1. Love that “lady in the bathtub” thing! So cute!

    Did you know that bleeding heart isn't Dicentra anymore? Yeah. 🙁 It's so hard to keep up with all these changes!! (Reference: Graham Rice) I just learned of this one last week.

  2. Yes, it's CRAZY! Imagine how it's going to be when you walk into a garden center and the tags don't reflect the change, or the employees haven't yet heard about them, but you want to ask for a specific plant. Headaches for EVERYONE!

    MY name is going to stay the same. :-p

  3. Lamprocapnos? Ugh. Dislike. No wonder that one ended up in Joseph/Greensparrow's music video!

    But I just love it that someone else has heard about the Lady in the Bath trick, Shawna ;-]

    After reading about it in a Henry Mitchell book back in the 1990's I cut a flower & showed it to my dad, a sweet and long-ago memory.

    Happy Valentine's day!

    Annie in Austin

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