Dicentra

Common name: Bleeding Heart or Dutchman's Breeches

A herbaceous flowering perennial of oriental origin that grows to around 1m (39") high with a similar spread.

The arching stems are laden with 25mm (1") heart shaped flowers in pink or white that flower from May to June.


This is a useful plant for shaded areas, but will also perform well in full sun providing it not allowed to dry out.

The plant dies down completely in midsummer, so it is wise to mark its location to avoid damaging it when doing other gardening chores.

Cultivation

Week 10: Sow seeds in pots or trays of seed compost and keep in warm place for two to three weeks, then place in a cold spot 2°-4°C (35°-40°F) for six weeks or until they germinate.

Prick the seedlings out into 75mm (3") pots or boxes and harden them off in a cold frame [minimum temp 12°C (55°F)] until planting out time the year after.

Week 18: Take 75mm (3") long root cuttings and insert in equal parts (by volume) peat and sand in a cold frame.

When the young leaves have developed, place the cuttings out in nursery bed to grow on till planting out time.

Week 40: Plant out any well drained soil in a position sheltered from late spring frosts and strong winds.

Enrich the soil prior to planting out with peat, leaf-mould or compost.

Once planted, leave undisturbed to avoid damaging the brittle roots.

Week 40: Dicentra remain compact for many years and do not normally need dividing.

If established plants need dividing, divide them now and replant the divisions immediately, alternatively wait until new growth appears the following year.

Dicentra have brittle roots and resent disturbance!

To alleviate this problem try taking root cuttings in spring or cut out rooted sections of new growth thus leaving the main rootball intact.





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