A popular plant for the shade garden, very easy and satisfying to grow, Dicentra eximia is a tremendous performer. Long-blooming, with nodding, heart-shaped flowers, the deeply cut, fern-like foliage make this an exceptionally handsome plant.
The pink or flowers of are heart shaped with an inner petal that drips from the outer petals creating the appearance that the heart is bleeding. The main bloom period occurs in early summer but with good moisture and deadheading it will continue to bloom into the autumn.
The flowers are more oblong and smaller than the old-fashioned bleeding heart, they are held on long branching inflorescences above the foliage that encourage a more floriferous species. The foliage persists through the growing season; it does not die back like that of old fashion bleeding heart.
This lovely perennial, mound shaped plant reaches 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) and prefers a partially shaded site with well-drained soil. Planted with other shade lovers such as ferns, hostas and hellebores, they will add charming beauty to any woodland or shade garden.
Sowing: Sow in spring or autumn.
Sow the seeds as soon as possible, ideally at temperatures around 18 to 22°C (64 to 71°F) Stratification in a moist medium aids germination of seeds (This simulates the seasons going through the cold periods of winter and then warmth of spring)
Sow seeds in a well drained compost, cover lightly with vermiculite, as these seeds need light to germinate. Place the container in a bed of water, ensuring moisture throughout the compost.
Keep at 18 to 22°C for 2 to 4 weeks. Then move seeds to 4°C (39°F) for 4 to 6 weeks (This can be the fridge). Finally bring back into 5 to 12°C (41-53°F) for germination.
Be patient, the seeds can be erratic and sometimes slow to germinate, taking from 30 to 180 days.
Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays. Once the plant is established, gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out, space 45cm (18in) apart.
Bleeding hearts prefer a partially shaded site and well-drained soil. Wet soils during the winter and dry soils during the summer lead to plant loss. Remove old flower stems as the blooms fade if you do not want plants to self-seed.
Clumps of Dicentra remain compact for many years and should not need dividing. Once established, they have brittle roots and don't like disturbance. If you wish to divide the rootball, do so in spring, March to April.
Shade/Woodland Garden. Woodland Garden, rock garden, wildflower garden or naturalised area.
It mixes well with other shade lovers such as columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Jacob's ladder (Polemonium reptans) and bugbane (Cimicifuga racemosa).
Dicentra eximia is native to the eastern United States. It typically occurs on forest floors, rocky woods and ledges in the Appalachian Mountains; New Jersey and West Virginia south to Virginia and Tennessee.
The genus name Dicentra is taken from the Greek words dis, meaning 'two', and kentros, meaning 'spurs'.
The species name eximia is often seen spelt exima, without the second ‘i’.
In the US it is commonly called the Wild Bleeding Heart but is more often known as the Fernleaf or Fringed Bleeding Heart due to its stemless flowers and leaves arising straight from the rootstock. This name is a little confusing because it also refers to the Luxuriant Bleeding Heart, Dicentra Formosa, which is another popular bleeding heart flower.
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 25 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 400 seeds / gram Family Papaveraceae Genus Dicentra Species eximia Synonym eximia is often seen spelt exima, without the second ‘i’. Common Name Fringed Bleeding Heart Other Common Names Fernleaf Dicentra Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Pink or white flowers Natural Flower Time Late spring to early autumn Height 30 to 45cm (12-18in) Spread 30 to 45cm (12-18in) Position Full Sun to Partial Shade Aspect Sheltered. Soil Rich well drained. Germination Can be erratic, 30 to 180 days.