Dicentra 'Bacchanal'
Common Name: bleeding heart
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Deep wine red
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Rabbit

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers rich, fertile, humusy, consistently moist soils. Soils must not be allowed to dry out during summer. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. Promptly remove spent flowering stems to promote additional bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dicentra is a genus of 20 or more species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants which are native to moist woodland areas in Asia and North America. Plants feature pendant, two-spurred, heart-shaped flowers atop mounds of deeply dissected leaves.

A number of cultivars have been produced in recent years which are hybrid crosses between D. peregrine (native to alpine areas of China and eastern Siberia) and D. eximea (native to woodland areas of eastern North America) in which the goal was to produce a dicentra with a compact and robust habit, long flowering period, blue-gray foliage and quality flower colors.

Genus name comes from the Greek words dis meaning twice and kentron meaning a spur for the two-spurred flowers.

Flowers in the genus Dicentra are commonly called bleeding heart because protruding inner petals, more obvious in some species than others, purportedly appear to form a drop of blood at the bottom of each heart-shaped flower.

'Bacchanal' features deeply-cut, fern-like, blue-green foliage which persists throughout the growing season and deep wine-red, nodding, heart-shaped flowers carried above the foliage on long, leafless, leaning stems. Protruding inner petals of the flower purportedly appear to form a drop of blood at the bottom of each heart-shaped flower (hence the common name of bleeding heart). Plant typically grows to 15" tall. Bloom begins in late spring. In cooler climates, plant is an everbloomer with flowering continuing throughout the summer and into the fall, but in the hotter climates, the flowering will generally stop in hot weather, with a possible rebloom occurring when the weather cools in late summer or early fall. Given adequate moisture, foliage remains attractive in summer, and may produce an attractive groundcover effect. Similar in appearance to the popular D. 'Luxuriant', except flowers on 'Luxuriant' are cherry red.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to aphid infestations. Powdery mildew, downy mildew, verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt and rust may occur. Good soil drainage is essential for plant survival. Slugs and snails may attack new growth.

Garden Uses

Mass, group or specimen in woodland gardens or shaded areas borders and rock gardens. Foliage can be quite attractive when flowers are not in bloom.