Ohio NativesPlantsJune 1, 2023by Colin0Wild Bleeding Heart

Wild Bleeding Heart, scientifically known as Dicentra eximia or Dicentra formosa, is a delicate and captivating native perennial that adds a touch of grace and charm to shaded areas of your garden. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history, growing instructions, maintenance tips, and other important aspects of Wild Bleeding Heart.

History and Significance

Wild Bleeding Heart has a rich history and cultural significance. Native to various regions, including parts of Ohio, this plant has been admired for its unique heart-shaped flowers and fern-like foliage. Its ethereal beauty and romantic symbolism have made it a popular choice among gardeners seeking to create enchanting woodland gardens or shady borders.

Growing Wild Bleeding Heart

Here are some essential guidelines for successfully growing Wild Bleeding Heart:

  1. Location: Wild Bleeding Heart thrives in partial to full shade, making it an excellent choice for shaded garden areas, woodland gardens, or under the canopy of trees. It prefers well-draining soil enriched with organic matter, such as compost, to improve moisture retention and fertility.
  2. Planting: Start Wild Bleeding Heart from nursery-bought plants or divisions. Plant them in spring or early fall, ensuring they have enough space to spread. Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the plant’s root ball, place the plant in the hole, and backfill with soil. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.
  3. Watering: Wild Bleeding Heart prefers consistently moist soil but not waterlogged conditions. Water the plants regularly, especially during dry spells, to maintain even moisture levels. Mulching around the plants helps retain soil moisture and suppresses weed growth.
  4. Maintenance: Wild Bleeding Heart is relatively low-maintenance. Regularly monitor the soil moisture and provide supplemental watering during extended dry periods. Remove any weeds that may compete with the plants for nutrients and water. After the flowering period, the foliage may start to decline. You can trim back the foliage to tidy up the plant, but avoid cutting it back too early, as the leaves help store energy for the following year.
  5. Wildlife Benefits: The unique flowers of Wild Bleeding Heart attract pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, providing them with a valuable source of nectar. The foliage also offers shelter for small creatures, making it a welcome addition to wildlife-friendly gardens.

Interesting Facts

  • Wild Bleeding Heart is closely related to the common garden Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis), sharing a similar appearance and charm.
  • The name “Bleeding Heart” refers to the unique shape of the flowers, which resemble a delicate heart with a droplet-shaped bottom.
  • Wild Bleeding Heart has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Some Native American tribes used the plant to treat various ailments, including skin conditions and heart-related issues.

Wild Bleeding Heart is a captivating native perennial that thrives in shaded garden areas, providing a touch of elegance and allure. By incorporating this enchanting plant into your landscape, you create a haven of beauty and serenity, all while supporting native species and adding depth to your garden.

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