Problem with Bleeding Heart

b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)July 11, 2010

I tried one new little plant this year...a bulb for bleeding heart.

But it has not done very well since I put it in the flower bed ( the same one where the irises live). I think it's getting too much sun.

Should I move it now? Or wait till the fall? I think I know a good spot for it.

Are there any other hardy, blooming perennials that do well in the Denver area in a fairly shady spot?


Here is a link that might be useful:

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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Old fashioned bleeding hearts, Dicentra spectabiliswhat you haveÂgoes dormant in summer, so thatÂs probably at least part of the problem youÂre having, but they do prefer shade or mostly shade, so if itÂs in mostly sun, or very much hot midday sun, itÂll probably do better if you move it. Do you have a picture of it now? If itÂs mostly dormant alreadyÂpretty yellow lookingÂyou might want to wait till right after itÂs done blooming next spring. If it still doesnÂt look too bad, you could move it now, but then expect it to completely yellow and "go away" for the rest of the summer. May or may not get a little bit of foliage in fall, but probably not. If you move it now, water it in very well after transplanting it, and then just water it "normally" for the rest of the summerÂthat means water the same as you would for anything else planted in the area. If you move it now, be sure you mark where itÂs planted so you donÂt accidentally dig into it after itÂs dormantÂand donÂt freak out when it immediately yellows and looks like itÂs dying! Bleeding hearts are amazingly resilient things, and itÂll be back next springÂpossibly TOO early, and the foliage and/or buds or flowers could freeze if we get a hard freeze after it puts in itÂs appearance (covering works in all but the most extreme cold!)

There isnÂt a lot of COLOR for planting in shade, but there definitely are blooming things you can use. I donÂt have a lot of time right now for detailed info, but a few of them are: Thalictrum, Aruncus/goatsbeard, Bergenia, Primula/primrosesÂlots of different types (some donÂt like heat very much!), Heuchera/coral bellsÂboth the ones with green leaves and "red" flowers and the ones with the beautifully colored foliage, Lamium (groundcover), saxifrage, Lewisia (mine are in too much sun!), GeraniumsÂthe perennial onesÂcranesbill, Digitalis/foxgloveÂcommon ones are biennial/short lived, most of the Campanulas can go with just a couple hours direct sun, same with most of the columbine, forget-me-nots, some lilies (oriental and a few others), Polemonium/JacobÂs ladder, Tiarella, Trollius, Brunnera/false forget-me-not. And then thereÂs a wonderful variety of colorful foliage and the different foliage sizes, textures, and heights of HostasÂthey bloom, but mostly theyÂre grown for the great foliage. And ferns, while they donÂt bloom, can add a wonderful dimension to shade gardens.

I just scrolled thru a couple of my albums, and here are some of the things on the north side of my (2-story) house. Mid summer they get a little bit of very early morning and very late afternoon direct sun. If you want to know what something is, click on the picture and youÂll be able to see the captionÂI think I only linked ones that are captioned! If you have any questions, let me know!


    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 2:00AM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

Oh my! Your flowers are incredible! Thank you so much.

I'll take a picture of my little plant tomorrow.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 2:41AM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

the first five photos in the attached link show my little plant and the place I'm looking at for a new flower bed.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 5:22PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Theres nothing at all wrong with your bleeding heart. Its just starting to go dormant for the summer! Mine was yellower than yours, and I cut it all the way down to the ground a couple weeks ago. Itll be back next spring, hopefully not too early! (The white cyclamen in the pictures above goes summer dormant too, and is "all gone" now! The flowers on that one will be back in full force sometime in September, and the foliage will join the flowers a couple weeks later!)

If thats the north side of the fence where youre thinking of planting it, it should love it there. If youre planning to get the area ready for planting before the bleeding heart turns much more yellow, you could move it now, or if the area wont be ready for a while, you can just wait till a month or so after its done blooming next year. I dont really recommend transplanting it when its all the way dormant because its harder to get the "crown" of the plant at the right depth when theres no foliage to help you see what youre doing.

If you transplant it now, it will almost certainly turn completely yellow right after you do it. Dont freak out, and dont keep watering it trying to "help" it. Water it "normally," like I said above, and when the foliage is all the way yellow, just cut it off about an inch above the ground. If you dont transplant it now, dont overwater it trying to keep it from yellowing either! When it gets yellow to the point that you dont like looking at it, cut it off!

Mines in clay, so it really hasnt gotten much bigger than when I put it in, but if you put yours in halfway decent soil, in a couple years youll have a BIG plant!

Have fun,

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 5:50PM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)


Thanks so much!
I guess I was sort of hoping it would bloom this year .;) It never did, so I was thinking I did something wrong with it. Since it's doing ok, I might wait until next spring to move it.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:44AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi B2, (Hope you dont mind that! I can never remember the "Betty" when I see the "Alicia" in your screen name!)

Bleeding hearts are one of the first perennials to bloom in spring, right after, or sometimes even with, the spring bulbs, so yours was probably just getting started in the pot at what would have been its normal blooming time if it had been outside all winter.

This is mine in April of 08 (told you it was small!). It probably started to come up the end of March that year. Since they come up so early, you will need to stay alert to overnite temps once its up so you can cover it if its going much below freezing. Unlike the bulbstulips, daffodils, etc.they really cant handle below freezing temps very well, and the foliage, buds, and flowers can all freeze if it gets too cold. Frozen foliage just makes it look bad, but frozen buds or flowers means the end of the bloom for that year!

Leaving it where it is will get you a couple flower spikes next spring, and moving it after it blooms will probably give you about the same size plant in 12, and then it should get noticeably bigger every year after that if its in decent soil.

They really are amazing things to see when theyre blooming, and well worth having to "tend to them" when the temps go down too low in spring.

The wait will make next years bloom even more exciting for you!


    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 2:18PM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

B2 is just fine. :)

Thanks so much for the info! Your little plant is darling.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 4:16PM
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