Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'

bleeding heart    Perennial of the Month-- February 2005 

(dI-cen' trah  spec-ta' bill-iss) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Gold Heart bleeding heart

Family: Fumariaceae, Fumitory

Height x width: 24-36" x 18-24"

Growth rate; habit: moderate, open upright

Foliage: dissected to deeply cut, compound, bright gold all season

Flowers: rose-pink, typical heart-shaped for species, spring

Hardiness: USDA zones 4-8 (zone 4 if good snow cover or mild winter)

Soil: moist, tolerates some dry, not wet

Light: full sun in north if moisture, part shade in south where it may turn lime green in summer

Pests and problems: none significant

Landscape habit, uses: shade garden or border, full sun border in cool summer climates; combines well with spring flowers such as primroses, bugloss, forget-me-nots, tulips, bright green ferns, purple or dark-leaved plants such as some Cimicifuga
cultivars as Hillside Black Beauty

Other interest: very different from common bleeding heart in foliage, and main attraction; from Nori Pope, Hadspen Gardens and Nursery, Castle Cary, Somerset, England where it was found as a gold mutation on the species, and propagated from tissue culture, being introduced in 1997. First plants of common bleeding heart (species) introduced to England in 1840's from Japan by famous plant explorer Robert Fortune; flowers resemble bleeding hearts.

Other culture: not as hardy or vigorous as species, may be hard to establish in less than ideal climate and conditions; may tend to die back later in summer

Propagation: difficult, generally commercially by tissue culture

Sources: commercially from  Terra Nova nurseries, home gardeners from local and online specialty perennial nurseries (many listed at the Terra Nova site under retail)

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