Dicentras

The dielytras, as Dicentras were formerly known, are returning to favour. At one time they featured in every border worthy of the name, and no wonder, for the large, fresh-looking, well-cut, fern-like foliage is altogether attractive.

The plants like a rather cool, semi-shady position, and although not particular as to soil, they do object to a water-logged, cold condition in the winter, but like plenty of moisture during the spring and summer. For the front of the border D. eximia and D. formosa are first class; their attractive fern-like foliage grows 6 or 7 in. high and acts as an excellent foil for more colourful subjects growing nearby. The arching spikes of both varieties are about 1 ft, with pendant, rose-pink flowers which last a good while.

Dicentras

Dicentra spectabilis grows nearly 2 ft, with correspondingly larger foliage. The flower sterns are well arched and furnished with heart-shaped, deep pink flowers, from which a protrusion hangs with a crimson spot at the base; and doubtless it is this appearance which gives rise to the common name of ‘Bleeding Heart’. Other attractive names given to this plant are ‘Lady in the Bath’, the ‘Lyre Flower’ and ‘St David’s Harp’.

The Dicentras make good pot plants. Out of doors, the plants will flower from the end of May until July. The roots may be divided in the autumn or spring; root cuttings taken early in the spring are another means of increasing stock.

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