The Dicentra Genus (Bleeding Heart)

Dicentra is one of the most unusual and instantly recognizable genera, with spurred flowers that look like hearts.

The genus is made up of about 8 species in the poppy plant family, and the majority come from North America and Asia.

Some plants that were originally part of the dicentra genus have been reclassified, and probably the most famous of those is Lamprocapnos spectabilis, which was Dicentra spectabilis

Dicentra At A Glance

Most dicentra species feature arched flower stems that drape towards the earth, with pendant, heart-shaped flowers, sure to catch anyone’s attention.

Most of these blooms feature a different colored tip at the end of each flower which looks almost like a teardrop, usually in pink or red, which can resemble blood, hence the common name.

They put on a spectacular show during spring and early summer, often finishing before the height of summer can arrive. 

Dicentra Name Meaning

Derived from Greek, the genus name directly translates to twice-spurred, which describes the flowers perfectly, as most look evenly split, straight down the middle.

Bleeding Heart Flower Symbolism

Despite what you might assume from the name, the flowers are not synonymous with heartbreak, or a broken love.

In fact, they typically symbolize an all-consuming love or passion, as well as grace or purity.

Dicentra Growing Requirements

Most dicentra species are very low maintenance, and it helps that they are perennials, so you can largely leave them to their own devices, provided that you give them the right growing conditions.

Dicentra plants love damp and well-draining soil, in a shady position which doesn’t see a lot of sunlight.

Ideally, the soil should have a slightly acidic pH to get the best out of these plants, where they will bloom in spring and summer.

This makes them a perfect plant to grow alongside hostas, as they like very similar conditions.

As long as the soil stays consistently moist, you shouldn’t need to water them very often. If you do put them in a slightly sunnier position, you will need to up their watering schedule.

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