February 22, 2014
Bleeding Hearts, whose scientific name is Lamprocapnos Spectabilis, are a flowering perennial in the Poppy family. Other common names are Dutchman’s Breeches, Lyre Flower and Lady-In-A-Bath as some people think the flower looks like a pair of pants, while others believe it looks like a woman taking a bath when looking at the flower upside down. Besides being very unique looking, this plant is also deer-resistant, which is a great benefit to suburban and rural gardeners.
With its one-inch, heart-shaped, pink and white flowers, this plant certainly does remind you of the traditionally accepted shape of the human heart. Though the heart is most often pink, they have been cultivated to bloom either red (my favorite) or all white. With a small drop of “blood” hanging down below the heart, the plant does live up to its name. Growing up to a height of thirty-six inches, with its spread just as wide, Bleeding Hearts grow best under partial to full shade. It likes a well-drained, slightly acidic soil with plenty of humus.
All parts of the plant are poisonous and may cause skin irritation when touched. Depending on the variety of plant, the foliage can be either lobed or fern-like, yellow or green. After the plant blooms from April to June, the foliage dies off during the summer. In a cool, moist climate, Bleeding Hearts will bloom in a full sun, and may re-bloom sporadically throughout the summer, but loves the shade in warmer and drier climates. These plants should be divided every three or four years. Divide them early in spring, before the plant begins blooming.
Native to Siberia, Northern China, Korea and Japan, the plant made its way to Russia by German botanist J. G. Gmelin in 1740. Bleeding Hearts were introduced into Great Britain in 1847 by Scottish botanist Robert Fortune. The plant eventually made its way to America where they gained popularity as a Valentine’s Day flower because of its heart-shaped blooms. However, there are several varieties native to North America. Fringed-Leaf Bleeding Hearts are native to northeastern America, while Western Fringed-Leaf Bleeding Hearts are native to the Pacific northwest.
If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!
Steven H. Spring