Dicentra is not exactly a new plant to me, but I experienced it in a new context last week.
When I think of Dicentra, which also goes by the name “Bleeding Hearts,” I picture it as a perennial planted in a garden bed…..
…but I saw it planted in the “native garden” portion of the Bellevue Botanical Garden…..
…and again growing wild on a hike in Washington state!
Dicentra is a herbaceous flowering perennial (in zones 3-9). There are only eight species in the Dicentra genus. The species of Dicentra that is native to Washington is the Dicentra formosa. It likes shady woodsy, slightly damp areas, so it’s perfectly suited to the Pacific Northwest. They have a long bloom season in temperate climates, but may stop blooming if it gets too hot.
When I think of “native gardens,” I think….boring. I think of low maintenance trees, shrubs, and ground cover plants that blend together in a way that is just….dull. There isn’t much variety in forms or colors. Flowers aren’t prominent. Dicentra is a good reminder to me that a native garden doesn’t have to be boring. I am encouraged to keep an eye out for more interesting native plants.