The strings of white hearts, suspended from the stems of Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ (white bleeding heart) add elegance to the shade garden. These medium sized perennials bloom from spring to early summer.
Here the new buds are dangling under the stem in early spring. The white outer petals are still held tight against the bud.
Now the first heart is open, and the other little buds are starting. The buds closest to the main stem start first, and gradually the whole necklace of hearts opens. These little white flowers look great in the shade, and last about 6 weeks. You can see a few lily of the valley flowers behind this plant, and a tiny peek of Brunnera blue. I also have some Epimedium in front. All three plants look good with white bleeding hearts, and their blooming times overlap, so they make a nice grouping together.
The bleeding heart foliage stays fresh through the summer in my garden, since it doesn’t get too hot or dry for it. In fall, after the frost, the leaves turn yellow, and stay colourful for a while before dropping.
These elegant perennials are about 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 feet), making a nice sized plant for the middle of the border. My two ‘Alba’ plants have a number of stems of hearts, that make a good show.
The pure white flowers are highly visible in the shade areas, and look graceful against the medium green leaves. These are one of those perennials that looks attractive at dusk. As other plants start blending into the shadows, Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ is glowing. Bleeding hearts are a classic plant for the shade garden, and this white form looks especially nice under the trees .