Again With The Ferns And Bleeding Hearts

Yes, yes – I know I posted about Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) less than a week ago. But such a change in those few days!


The Ostrich Ferns have filled in and reached almost their full height.


The Bleeding Hearts have stretched out their long arching stems with dangling pink and white flowers. The Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are mostly gone, but you can still see a few in the corners of the photo above.


This picture gives you an idea of how the Ostrich Ferns perform as a foundation planting, if only for about half the year. It also shows that we need to replace some of the front windows. Will the demands of home repair never cease?


At this time of year the fresh green of the Ostrich Ferns makes me want to graze on them like some big herbivore in a flannel shirt. I refrain, though, since eating these ferns past the fiddlehead stage is not recommended.

And, as I’ve said before, the Ostrich Ferns and Bleeding Hearts go together so beautifully. The Bleeding Hearts are an import from Japan, they are not native to North America. Even so, I don’t think I could live without them. The native Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra eximia) are insipid by comparison, in my opinion.

On the other hand, the native is still in the genus Dicentra, while the exotic species has been moved to the genus Lamprocapnos. I do think that such a beautiful species deserves a name that is not quite so ugly.

56 Comments on “Again With The Ferns And Bleeding Hearts

  1. What amazing growth from the Ostrich ferns … What do you feed them? We had Bleeding Hearts in our tiny inner city garden when we lived in Sydney… They were a joy to come home to ..

    • Bleeding hearts can seed themselves around, though not very aggressively. As for what we feed the ferns, that’s a trade secret.

  2. The rate at which plants grow is astounding isn’t it? Your foundation planting looks really great. Is there an evergreen fern you could add to the mix to keep the display even in winter?

  3. I have quite a few native Bleeding Hearts, but they just don’t stand out like the beauties pictured above. Spring would not be spring without them in my garden. I truly look forward to their arrival. I have pink and red but lost my white. You can never show too many photos of ferns and Bleeding Hearts for me anyway. 🙂

  4. In the last photo, the curl of that frond looks like a finger beckoning to the bleeding hearts: “Come closer, my little lovelies…”

  5. A great combination. We’ve just had to have some house trim replaced. (No, home repair demands never cease. Next up, painting.)

  6. A great combination, indeed! I know just what you mean about home repairs. We have windows in a similar state. Fortunately, they are in the back where no one can see them.

  7. It’s a magical time of year when plants grow at such speed.

  8. I certainly agree on the name matter. But the pictures I have seen of Dicentra eximia are quite pretty. Still, your Lamprocapnos is rather impressive!

  9. I like the fern leaved bleeding hearts too, but they’d never make the same statement the old fashioned bleeding heart does. They do go well with the ferns.
    To answer your question no, the demands of home repair never do cease. In winter when I wasn’t gardening I was a handyman, so I’m very familiar with those kinds of demands.

  10. No, Jason, the demands of home repair never go away. Sorry.
    Just bought two lovely ostrich ferns yesterday, because of how wonderful yours look in front of your home. They’ll get a bit of filtered morning sun, but shade from noon on. Hope they do well! Your gardens do inspire!!

  11. Nice succession planting. Ostrich ferns are one of my favorite ferns. In my opinion you can never have enough of them. You have a great grouping and they look fabulous with the bleeding heart! Definitely worthy of a second post.

  12. What a gorgeous combination – yet another idea for my shady front beds. I do have both white and red bleeding hearts but must say that LOVE the white ones – likely because they are not as common around here. Mine were here before we moved & (not surprisingly) I have no idea what they are – what’s the difference between the native and imports?

    • The natives are much smaller and have ferny leaves. The imports are bigger and showier. I agree that the white ones are nice.

  13. Hey, yours look better than ours, and ours are native!
    The ostrich ferns that you grow there may be a slightly different species, or maybe a variety of the species. Ours just moved in from the forest. They are very nice too, but do not look so refined.

  14. Wow, they do look absolutely beautiful together!! I will have to keep this combination in mind if I ever add ferns to my garden!

  15. Demands of the house…nope, never ends, just takes a vacation. Ferns are lovely. I planted some once at another house, then they started running amok, hard it was to contain their enthusiasm. The bleeding hearts, can go where they will.

  16. Such a great combination! I have long admired bleeding hearts as my grandmother has always grown them, and I am thrilled to now live in an area where they grow so well and last so long before going dormant.

  17. They are mighty fine ferns! They do sit well with the bleeding hearts, a lovely combination. Home repair is a pain, I’d much rather spend money on the garden!!!xxx

  18. What a pretty combination. I haven’t had great luck with bleeding heart but I don’t think I’ve had them in the right spot. I am fascinated with ostrich fern and love watching them unfurl every spring. Lovely photos; great combo.

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