Dicentra spectabilis is a clump-forming perennial with lobed, pale green leaves and arching fleshy stems. Racemes of pink and white heart-shaped flowers adorn the plant in April to May. This unusual and luxuriant plant will grow up to 1.2m and spread to 45cm, but is usually less than that. It thrives in partial shade and is completely hardy.
If you purchase this plant in late summer it may not look its best, as it “does it’s thing” early, but it is a good idea to establish it for the following year.
Dicentra spectabilis, commonly known as the Bleeding Heart plant, is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the family Papaveraceae. Native to Japan and China, it is widely cultivated and appreciated for its unique and striking flowers. The plant derives its common name from the heart-shaped flowers that dangle from the arching stems, with a distinctive drop-like structure that resembles a bleeding heart.
The plant grows up to 1-1.5 meters in height and produces attractive blue-green foliage. The leaves are deeply lobed and finely divided, giving them a fern-like appearance. The plant typically blooms in late spring and early summer, producing clusters of flowers on long arching stems that can reach up to 60 cm in length.
The flowers of Dicentra spectabilis are truly unique, with their heart-shaped outer petals that form a hollow pendant with a drop-like structure at the bottom. The petals can range in color from pink to white or even yellow, with the inner petals usually being a contrasting color. The flowers have no fragrance but their striking appearance more than makes up for it.
Dicentra spectabilis is an easy-to-grow plant that prefers partial shade and well-drained soil. It can be grown in a variety of garden settings, including woodland gardens, rock gardens, and cottage gardens. It is often planted en masse in garden borders, where the striking flowers make a bold statement against a backdrop of green foliage.
In addition to its ornamental value, Dicentra spectabilis has a rich history of medicinal use. In traditional Chinese medicine, the plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including menstrual irregularities, respiratory infections, and skin conditions. The plant contains several bioactive compounds, including isoquinoline alkaloids, flavonoids, and saponins, which are believed to be responsible for its medicinal properties.
While Dicentra spectabilis is generally considered safe, all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested in large quantities. The plant contains a number of toxic compounds, including isoquinoline alkaloids, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms if ingested. It is important to keep the plant out of reach of children and pets and to exercise caution when handling it.
Dicentra spectabilis is a popular garden plant that is widely appreciated for its unique and striking flowers. It is an easy-to-grow plant that requires little maintenance and can be grown in a variety of garden settings. In addition to its ornamental value, it has a rich history of medicinal use, although caution should be exercised when handling the plant due to its toxic properties. If you are looking for a beautiful and unusual addition to your garden, consider planting Dicentra spectabilis – it is sure to turn heads and capture hearts.