Fringed bleeding hearts may not be the flashiest plants in their genus, but they hold a high value to gardeners who appreciate the delicate beauty of these flowers. Are you interested in learning more about these lovely plants? Discover everything you need to know, including information about their origins and native habitats, as well as key tips for growing and caring for them. Fringed bleeding hearts are herbaceous perennials and belong to the poppy family. Their scientific name is Dicentra eximia, with “eximia” meaning “distinguished” in Latin. These flowers typically grow to be around 12-18 inches tall and have romantically-shaped flowers that first bloom in the spring. They are also known for their grey-green, deeply dissected leaves. Fringed bleeding hearts produce several drooping flowers along a leafless stem in shades of pink or reddish-purple. If you prefer white flowers, the ‘alba’ cultivar is an excellent option.
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Dicentra eximia is a native plant of Eastern North America that can be cultivated in planting zones 3 to 9. Although it can tolerate full shade to partial shade, plants located in full shade will have fewer flowers. The plant thrives in moist but well-drained soil, and adding compost can assist with optimal growth.
Fringed bleeding hearts are perfect for woodland gardens and shade gardens since they are adaptable to both reseeding and via rhizomes. The fringed, fern-like foliage of D. eximia is more attractive than the showier and more widely grown bleeding hearts, D. spectabilis. The leaves last throughout the summer heat, unlike those of D. spectabilis.
Fringed bleeding hearts are popular among hummingbirds, and they are deer-resistant plants since they are poisonous when consumed. It is best to divide these perennials every few years in the springtime to ensure vitality. Applying mulch can also minimize competition from weeds, while deadheading can promote reblooming. Other types of Dicentra include Dutchman’s breeches plant, squirrel corn, Pacific bleeding heart, and D. scandens, which is a large vine with yellow flowers. False bleeding hearts, such as Corydalis spp, have fern-like leaves, and C. lutea is the most popular type.