Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart: Best Shade Garden Choice

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart: Best Shade Garden Choice

Fashioned Bleeding Heart Dicentra spectabilis Valentine™ or commonly called Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart is one of the most popular of old-fashioned garden plants. This plant flowers in late spring; plants form a bushy, upright mound of green foliage, with a somewhat ferny appearance. Dangling bright-pink locket flowers are held on arching stems which are excellent for cutting.

This species of bleeding heart has been a common, old garden favorite for many years. It features beautiful, graceful, soft green foliage, and 1 inch long, rose pink, nodding, heart-shaped, flowers with protruding white inner petals, hanging in a row from long, arching, stems above the foliage in mid to late spring. The name Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart is in reference to the protruding inner petals of the heart-shaped flower which purportedly gives the appearance of a “bleeding heart.” This plant will typically reach a height of 24 to 36 inches tall. Except in the far northern part of its range, the foliage usually goes dormant no later than mid-summer.

How To Make Your Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in partial shade to full shade. This plant prefers moist, humusy soils in part shade. It is fairly intolerant of wet soils in winter and dry soils in summer.

General Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart Information

Pests and Diseases

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart has no real serious insect or disease problems. There is some susceptibility to aphid infestations. Good soil drainage is essential for plant survival and reducing any risk of pests.


You can propagate through division, root cuttings, or seeds.

Garden Uses

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart is best located in the shaded border or woodland garden. Because its foliage goes dormant, it is best to plant this bleeding heart through a loose ground cover, or among later developing perennials such as hostas and ferns which will fill in as the bleeding heart foliage begins to die back.

Quick Facts

  • Common Name: Old fashioned bleeding heart
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 3 to 9
  • Height: 24 to 36 inches
  • Width: 18 to 30 inches
  • Bloom Time: Typically April to May
  • Bloom Description: White/pink flowers
  • Sun: Part shade to full shade
  • Water: Medium
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Soil Type: Normal, sandy, or clay
  • Soil pH: Neutral, alkaline, or acid (very adaptable)
  • Soil Moisture: Average to moist
  • Plant Uses: Borders, containers, cut flowers, woodland
  • Tolerates: Rabbits, heavy shade

Photo Search

Google – Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart Photos

Flicker – Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart Photos

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  1. I wish I had enough shade to grow more of these! I like the picture of ‘valentine’, I don’t have that one(yet), just the old fashioned pink and the white, but it’s on my wanted list 🙂
    Frank recently posted..The last bitsMy Profile

    • I have two of them and they are gorgeous, certainly should be on the recommend list. Right about the time they bloom I tend to get a few wind storms that come through so if I don’t stake them they snap and break and they are lost for the season.

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