Pot plants: Dicentra, Heart of Mary, Dicentra cucullaria, Dicentra eximia, Dicentra formosa, Dicentra spectabilis

Pot plants: Dicentra, Heart of Mary, Dicentra cucullaria, Dicentra eximia, Dicentra formosa, Dicentra spectabilis

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Classification, origin and description

Common name: Dicentra, Heart of Mary or Tears of Venice (D. spectabilis).
Kind: Dicentra.

Family: Fumariaceae.

provenance: North America, China and Japan.

Genre description: includes about 20 species of herbaceous, perennial and rhizomatous plants, which have leaves of various shades of green, deeply divided, similar to those of some ferns. The flowers, which usually bloom in summer gathered in arched and inclined racemes, are heart-shaped and generally pink in color. They can be used as border, rock garden and pot plants, preferably in a cold greenhouse, where early flowering can be obtained as early as the beginning of March.

Dicentra spectabilis (photo website)

Dicentra eximia (photo

Species and varieties

Dicentra cucullaria: native to North America, this species, which given its low size (7-15 cm. of height) is particularly suitable for the rock garden, has pale green leaves and elongated and heart-shaped flowers, 2,5 cm long., white or pink-purple in color, which bloom together in inclined racemes.

Dicentra eximia: native to North America, this species has gray-green foliage. From May to September it produces inclined racemes of intense pink flowers, heart-shaped and about 2 cm long. It grows up to 30-60 cm. in height. The Alba variety has white flowers.

Dicentra formosa: native to North America, this species has bright green leaves. In May-June it produces inclined racemes, formed by heart-shaped flowers, pink in color and about 2 cm long. It can grow up to 50 cm. The "Bountiful" variety offers a double flowering (May-June and autumn), but less abundant than the typical species, with intense pink flowers.

Dicentra spectabilis: originally from China and Japan, this species also called "heart of Mary", has gray-green leaves and heart-shaped flowers (which bloom from April to June, gathered in inclined racemes), 2.5 cm long, of pink-red color and provided with a calyx from which white petals emerge.

Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: require shelter from the cold and strong winds.
Light: they adapt to any exposure, provided they are sheltered from the cold and strong winds. D. cucullaria prefers a shaded exposure.
Watering and environmental humidity: they require frequent watering, especially D. cucullaria (which also requires high environmental humidity).
Substrate: they adapt to any type of garden soil, well drained, light and rich in organic matter.
Special fertilizations and tricks: a second flowering can be obtained in autumn, by cutting the plants in pots, in a cold greenhouse or in a box.


New specimens can be obtained by tufts division or sowing. The first method is carried out between October and March, taking care to replant the divided tufts immediately. Sowing is carried out in March in bowls filled with the appropriate seed compost and kept at a temperature of 15 ° C. The seedlings thus obtained will have to be repackaged in small pots and kept, to strengthen for about a year, in a cold bed. Subsequently the transplantation will take place permanently.

Diseases, pests and adversities

Video: How to Plant Dicentra: SpringSummer Guide (July 2022).


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