when to plant Bleeding Heart tubers?

ajpa(z6 se PA)March 5, 2009

I just saw that a local nursery has Bleeding Heart tubers (2/$6.29). (Dicentra spectabilis)

When would be a good time to plant these? (Zone 6B se PA)

Anyone know how much shade they'll take? I've been wanting them for the north side of my deck, which is really shady.

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You should put them in the ground as soon as you can work the ground. I am thinking of sticking some tubers I bought in a gallon pot with potting soil and covering it with a plastic bag with an aeration hole in the top. Then they can get started and when the ground defrosts I can just plant the whole thing.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 5:53AM
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ajpa(z6 se PA)

Hi Joann!
Like a WS container -- only bigger! Cool idea! That would be perfect for me since the spot I want to put them in isn't ready at all -- still has grass on it.
I saw them at Ott's Exotic plants in Schwenskville -- first time I've been there. Have you ever gone? They have a LOT of indoor plants, and a lot of seeds and summer bulbs. I haven't actually bought the bleeding hearts yet -- I plan to go back maybe next week for them.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 10:03AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

ITS BEEN A LONG TIME AND 2 HOUSES AGO.. OOPS ... and 2 houses ago ... since i grew them ...

dont they come up REAL LATE .. avoiding all chance of frost????

in my z5 .... i would pot them .. and grow them in said pots ... until all chance of frost is gone ... by moving them in and out of the garage during frost/freeze weather ...

if i had more than one.. i would stick one in the ground... and pot the other.. experiment ...

i dont understand ghog telling you to stick them in the ground.. and then saying he/she is potted his/her stuff ...

your problem ... might be... that though they are normally winter hardy ... you cant take a warm, packaged/greenhouse plant .... and stick it into the soil in winter [yes.. its still winter].. soil thawed or not ... one might say that they are NOT properly hardened off to icy mother earth ...

but you dont mention if yours were potted... polyhouse [cold] grown.. greenhouse grown [hot] or bare root in a plastic bag ...

the ones in a plastic bag.. having been stored in a warm building .. are the ones i would think.. MIGHT rot ...

good luck


    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 4:11PM
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ajpa(z6 se PA)

It's tubers in a bag, like "summer bulbs" they have in nurseries now.
The indoor plants I mentioned were probably off-topic, sorry. :)
ghoghunter is not too far from me, so I was wondering if she'd been to that nursery.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 5:44PM
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Bare rootstock in a plastic bag can be planted in a pot for now. Make sure what you buy is still "fleshy" and not dried up and brittle.

In fact, and as a back up plan, Dicentra Spectabilis is pretty commonly available from the Big boxes to good garden centers and they tend to be reasonably priced and grown to the point where they would/should bloom this season. You should be able to find one grown plant for the price of your two rootstock pieces.)

Get a good potting mix and you can probably put both pieces of root in one 10" pot. Plant @ 2" deep. Water but do not soak and keep the potted up rootstock in the garage until the appropriate time for outdoor planting in your zone. Protect the container from any more extreme cold you might still get by wrapping it with insulation like bubble wrap etc. Just wrap, don't smother it in a closed plastic tent.

Once your soil is workable, transplant outside - easy to do when the plants are small and there's less chance for breakage. Shade/part shade is fine for them. I should think the north side of your deck is bright shade as opposed to dense shade?

It's a lovely plant, mine started to self seed over the last season or so and I've been getting very transplantable plantlets cropping up here and there.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 9:20PM
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When I suggested she plant them directly in the ground I did say "When the ground can be worked". That is not now because the ground is still almost frozen and cold. By the time the ground can be dug it will be Spring and Dicentra is a Spring blooming plant isn't it? The bulbs I just planted in pots are for summer but you could do the Dicentra that way too and then put it in the ground later.
Sorry if I confused everyone! Oh and yes I once went to Otts but it was many years ago.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 12:53PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

Bleeding Hearts like moisture, not a swamp, but not dry. I would agree with the potting them up, waiting until ground is workable to place them in the dirt. Too wet and digging around, removes all the air from soil, compacts dirt hard around a new plant.

Mine bloom erratically. Earlier in season, but not real early, especially in shade. If the ground is dry, they come and go quickly, then are not such a good plant next year. Mark their spot, so you don't dig into them accidently later in the season. I want the foliage to last, feeding the roots a long time, making a better plant/bloom, for next year.

Bleeding hearts are pretty, can bloom over a longer period if well situated. White ones brighten up a darker space in shade. They usually are better bloomers the second season.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 5:58PM
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Dicentra spectabilis, common bleeding heart, is a very long-lived perennial and extremely hardy as well. Older plants can get huge (I've seen them 5'x5') and will develop immense woody root systems that look like they belong more to a tree than a perennial. They prefer a shady location but will tolerate quite a lot of sun if the soil is kept moist. They are summer dormant - once the bloom period is finished in early summer, the foliage will start to deteriorate and will be pretty much gone )or need to be cut away) by midsummer. The golden leafed form (D. 'Gold Heart') seems to hold its foliage better than either the species or 'Alba'.

Fern leaf bleeding heart - D. formosa, eximia and hybrids between the two - have a much longer bloom season and also retain their foliage better. They are very tolerant of dry shade conditions and since they spread rhizomatously (as well as by seed), they make a great groundcover for those situations.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 11:21AM
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ajpa(z6 se PA)

Thanks for all the tips! You guys are great!
The north side of the deck gets ambient light, I guess one would call it, and if I make the bed wide enough the front part will get some sun.
I will look for some ferns to put at the back of the bed.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 12:47PM
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