Dicentra 'Love Hearts'

Common Name: bleeding heart 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Yellow-green with white base and purple-red tips
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit


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.

‘Love Hearts’ is a compact bleeding heart hybrid cultivar that typically grows in a low-spreading mound to 8-10” tall. It was developed by Gotenborgs Botaniska Tradgard in Gothenburg, Sweden. Nodding, heart-shaped, pale yellow-green flowers with a white base and purple-red tips appear atop leafless flower stems which arch above finely-disssected, fern-like, blue-gray stem leaves. ‘Love Hearts’ is noted for its lengthy flowering period (particularly in cool summer climates). Peak bloom extends from late April into June, but additional sporadic flowering continues throughout summer to first fall frost. Flowering will slow down considerably or stop in the middle of hot summer weather, but will typically resume in late summer to early fall as temperatures cool. The two outer petals of each flower have spurred bases. Given adequate moisture, the foliage remains attractive in throughout summer, and often produces an attractive ground cover effect. U.S. Plant Patent Applied For (PPAF).


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.


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.