Pacific Bleeding Heart is easily one of the most beloved plants in a shady woodland Northwest Garden. In early spring, a carpet of delicate bright to blueish-green foliage emerges from the earth, soon followed by a plethora of enchanting heart-shaped purplish-pink blooms bobbing above the leaves on upright stems.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial herbaceous plant/ground layer
- Size at maturity: 12-18" tall, 18-24" wide
- Light requirements: full shade, part sun / part shade
- Moisture requirements: moist to wet soil
- Bloom Time: March - August
- Growth rate/ease: fast growth rate, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: nectar-rich flowers attract hummingbirds, adult butterflies, syrphid flies, bumblebees and other native bees; foliage provides food source for larval butterflies as well as cover for small creatures like amphibians and various arthropods.
- Native habitat/range: Common in damp forests and woodlands, in ravines, and near streams from low to middle elevations statewide; northward across WA into British Columbia and southward into central CA. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: ground cover, supports hummingbirds, medicinal
Gardening with Pacific Bleeding Heart: Try establishing a ground cover of Pacific Bleeding Heart beneath native conifers or other trees like Alder or Vine Maple, in areas that are moist and rich in organic matter and topped with a blanket of the finest mulch possible, fallen leaves left in place or raked from one area of your garden to another. No need to reinvent the wheel on mulch. 4.6 billion years of evolution already created the perfect product and applies it for you at just the right time. Go figure. If put in the right place, Pacific Bleeding Heart will spread vigorously through rhizomes - and, occasionally, even produce a second bloom later in the season. Try accompanying it with understory species like evergreen huckleberry, salal, osoberry, and native ferns - and other ground covers like stream violet, false Solomon’s seal, and Hooker’s fairy bells.
Photo Credits: Nikkie West