Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bleeding Heart
Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'

Family: Fumariaceae (foo-mar-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Dicentra (dy-SEN-truh) (Info)
Species: spectabilis (speck-TAB-ih-liss) (Info)
Cultivar: Gold Heart

11 vendors have this plant for sale.

33 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 29 photos.
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8 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Jun 7, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The golden/chartreuse foliage of this cutivar turns a great flowering garden plant into a wonderful plant for brightening shady areas. In shade, it looks as if the plant has been struck by a ray of sunshine. I would have expected the foliage to clash with the flowers, but I find they look great together.

As with the species, in the US southeast the foliage goes dormant in late spring, but further north it tends to last longer, even into September, if protected from hot afternoon sun. This cultivar does go dormant a bit sooner than the species, at least in full sun.

In any case, whenever the leaves begin to deteriorate, it's safe to force dormancy on it by cutting it to the ground. I'm experimenting with interplanting with herbaceous hibiscus hybrids and with Lespedeza thunbergii, which are very late to emerge from dormancy.

As with the species, the thick soft fleshy roots are brittle and easily damaged by careless handling/digging. Plants form multiple growing points after several years and can be carefully dug up and divided when dormant, either in very early spring or in late summer/fall.

This plant can get 4 feet wide in a few years. I would not plant these closer than 3 feet apart, even if I wanted a solid mass of bleeding heart.

Armitage states that this is hardy from Z2 to Z7.

Some of the other species rebloom, but not this one.

Dicentra Gold Heart was developed in the garden and nursery of Hadspen House in Somerset, England, by Nori and Sandra Pope, a Canadian couple who successfully took on the task of restoring the gardens made famous by Penelope Hobhouse in the 1970's. It was a chance mutation that made its way into the nursery trade in Europe and eventually to North America in 1997 courtesy of Dan Hinkley. Nori and Sandra have since retired back to Canada, but we are grateful their discovery lives on to enrich our gardens.

Unlicenced propagation prohibited in Canada and the EU, but this appears not to be under US patent.

Positive darylmitchell On Jun 9, 2012, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

Outstanding performer in my north-facing flowerbed that is in shade all day. It emerges in early spring and flowers before most other perennials. The foliage is as much of a eye-catcher as the flowers, and brightens up the shady bed. Mine stays relatively healthy all summer, sometimes with a bit of dieback. I planted another one in a spot that gets late afternoon sun, and it does not grow nearly as well as the one in deep shade.

Positive Gabrielle On Jul 13, 2011, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

A beautiful plant, very striking foliage. Cannot take as much sun as species Dicentra. Blooms in April-May in my garden. CPBR #0974, COEU #4817

Positive ms_greenjeans On May 16, 2011, ms_greenjeans from Hopkins, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Gold Heart seems to grow larger than my other bleeding hearts, and the bright chartreuse foliage really brightens up my shade garden. It does decline somewhat in mid-late summer, but does not disappear entirely.

Positive stormyla On Jan 3, 2010, stormyla from Norristown, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Many of my peers report that the foliage on their Gold Hart dies in mid summer. Mine remains healthy the full season. It is planted in deep shade and grows and blooms there very well. It does not grow as fast for me as the other varieties of Dicentra spectabilis.

Positive Malus2006 On May 2, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

For me this variety tend to be more errantic compare to the regular species. One year all appeared really late - about mid to late May - I was about to give up on them when they came up. If kept watering, they will last through mid to late August like the species. And that's in my sandy soil! Also may be slightly more difficult to establish compare to regular species - I had a few died on me but at present have two to three speciments.

Positive laurawege On Jan 10, 2008, laurawege from Wayland, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love the contrast of this plants foliage. it also doesn't seem to decline the way my other bleeding hearts do

Positive fluffygrue On Jul 9, 2005, fluffygrue from Manchester
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of my garden favourites, and it certainly spreads! The foliage is wonderfully golden and contrasts well with its pink flowers, and looks superb when the light hits it. Comes up in Spring and dies down around November here. I have it growing in front of some bamboo, which looks great.

Neutral lmelling On Jan 14, 2005, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Clump-forming perennial with thick, fleshy roots and 2-ternate, greenish-yellow leaves. Arching, fleshy stems bear racemes of flowers with rose pink outer petals and white inner ones in late spring and early summer. Protect tender vegetation from late frosts and high winds. Usually dies down to the ground by mid-summer.

Prefers moist, humus-rich soil and partial shade. Protect from hot afternoon sun. Be very careful when digging or working the soil near the roots of any bleeding heart. Very easy to kill the roots by doing this.

All parts of the plant may cause mild stomach upset if ingested. Contact with the foliage may aggravate skin allergies. Zones 3-9


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Charleston, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Westfield, Indiana
Hebron, Kentucky
Baltimore, Maryland
Dracut, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Wayland, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Hopkins, Minnesota
Kasota, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ithaca, New York
Clemmons, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Chesterland, Ohio
Coshocton, Ohio
Dallas, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Smyrna, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
Springfield, Virginia
Battle Ground, Washington
Poulsbo, Washington
Seattle, Washington (2 reports)
Vancouver, Washington

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