One of the most strikingly beautiful spring blooming perennials is Dicentra spectabilis; more commonly known as “Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart”.
Dicentra spectabilis grows up to 36” tall by 36” wide. It is covered with red and white bi-color flowers that dangle from graceful arching branches beginning in April. Kept evenly moist, it can bloom from 4 to 6 weeks. They proliferate in morning sun and afternoon shade in a humus-rich, evenly moist soil. During the heat of summer, Dicentra spectabilis begins a dormancy period. At this time, cut the plant back to the ground. Your summer and fall bloomers planted around them will fill the void.
There is also a white old-fashioned bleeding heart named Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ that is striking in a lightly shaded garden.
If you prefer a smaller, more compact Dicentra that blooms continually all season, try the everblooming Dicentra varieties. Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’ with its fern-like green foliage and deep pink flowers blooms from May through September. The bold cherry-pink flowers of Dicentra ‘King of Hearts’ contrast nicely with its beautiful fringed blue-green foliage.
Dicentra species are great in combination with spring-blooming bulbs, Epimedium, Heuchera, and Polemonium in a light shade border or with ferns, hosta, and Polygonatum in a woodland garden setting.