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Planting Instructions for Dicentra (bleeding heart):

Bloom Time:  Spring Light:  Part shade to full shade
Soil:  Humus-rich, well-drained Moisture:  Average to dry, never wet
Planting Depth:  top of eyes 1/2 to 1" below soil, mulch 1 to 2" Spacing:  15 to 18" for fern leaf, 24 - 36" for old-fashioned

Upon arrival:  Unpack box and check that you have everything on your packing list. Bleeding hearts like to stay relatively dry when dormant and should be planted within a few days of arrival.

Soil/Location:  Plant your bleeding hearts in part shade to full shade in humus-rich, well-drained, woodland type soil. All Dicentra especially like soil that is light and airy so avoid heavy soil or clay. Fern leaf bleeding hearts like part shade and humus-rich but dry soil. Add compost or peat humus to enrich and loosen the soil, if needed, amending the entire area for best results. When planting cover them with loose soil and don't pack them in.

Moisture:  Dicentra doesn't mind occasional moisture but should never be wet and should be allowed to dry out completely between watering. Fern leaf bleeding hearts like to stay dry and rarely if ever need supplemental water. Although some references report keeping them moist to prevent them from going dormant our experience has been the exact opposite. Plants in relatively dry conditions tend to stay actively growing longer than those in wet conditions.

Spacing:  15 to 18" for fern leaf, 24 - 36" for old-fashioned

Depth:  Plant with the top of the eyes about 1/2 to 1" below soil level and then mulch them 1 to 2". This keeps them cool and in the summer and protects them from drying winds in the winter. None of the roots or eyes should be showing after planting, so be sure to cover them completely.

General Instructions:  Enrich your garden with compost or peat humus, as needed, and mix a couple teaspoons of garden food or bone meal into the planting hole. Plant the roots at the depth listed, then water in lightly. Dicentra prefer a dry start so we only water them in once and then wait for them to sprout. Too much moisture early could damage the new shoots before they get a chance to emerge. Once they are actively growing it is alright to give them supplemental water once a week, if needed, allowing the soil to dry between watering. Once established they are very drought tolerant and rarely need extra moisture.

Bleeding hearts are sensitive to chemicals and heavy fertilizers, so avoid liquid insecticides and fertilizers and only feed lightly with organic fertilizers or compost.

Landscape Uses:  Bleeding hearts are excellent woodland plants that combine well with hostas, ferns, Pulmonaria, Tiarella, Tricyrtis, and spring wildflowers such as Mertensia (Virginia bluebells). The fern leaf plants do great along borders, the edges of raised beds, or in the shady rock garden.

Hallson Gardens
PO Box 220
Brooklyn, MI 49230

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