Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart

The Bleeding Heart plant should be in full bloom this week. I took this picture yesterday.

A member of the poppy family, it has 150 varieties and originally came from the Far East.

It gets it's name from the shape of the flower: a heart with a small drop falling from the bottom. A robust plant and easy to cultivate. It must be placed in light amended soil, sufficiently wet, in the shade or semi-shade. If that criteria isn't met, it will probably die.

It often dies down to ground level by the end of summer, especially if it is hot and dry. If it is a very dry, hot summer and fall, it would require watering. The plant will survive this summer foliage demise because it has finished it's growing cycle and is entering dormancy

You should continue to make sure the roots are kept moist when it is very hot and dry.

The plant grows from 1-3 foot high and almost as wide. It does best when not divided or moved. Although there are plants with white or red flowers and variegated leaves, the most popular remains the one pictured above. The leaves are fine fern like, at times red and other times shiny green. It is hardy in our area.

As the flowers die, pinch off spent blooms and it will continue to flower (although more limited) the entire summer. Birds, bees and butterflies find the flowers attractive.

Some gardeners say their plants self seed (although not invasive) but mine has never done this. Perhaps it's because I mulch my flower beds.

NOTE:  The foliage and roots may be poisonous if eaten in large amounts and may be fatal to cattle and cats.

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