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Dicentra eximia (wild bleeding heart)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Dicentra eximia

wild bleeding heart or turkey corn

A popular plant for the shade garden, Dicentra eximia is a tremendous performer. The leaves are deeply cut and fern like. The pink flowers are oblong heart shaped with an inner petal that drips from the outer petals, creating the appearance that the heart is bleeding. The flowers are smaller and longer than the old-fashioned bleeding heart, but in long branching inflorescences that encourage a more floriferous species.

Dicentra eximia LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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8-12 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

wild bleeding heart Interesting Notes

Dicentra eximia is a cornerstone of our American eastern woodland garden in the spring. It can be recognized by its delicate, feathery foliage and pink heart-shaped flowers. The blooms first appear in the spring but in cooler climates, they continue their show sporadically throughout summer. Growing about 15” tall and up to 24” wide, wild bleeding heart fills a midseason color gap when the woodland generally waits for the next wave of blooms. Though not a true ephemeral, Dicentra eximia's foliage often disappears by mid-summer in hotter climates.

Despite the garden popularity of this native woodland wildflower, Dicentra eximia is actually endangered in New Jersey and Pennslyvania. Its native habitat is largely the woodlands of the Appalachian mountain range, often found on slopes and rocky outcrops. Wild bleeding heart grows best in filtered shade or part sun in moist well-drained soil. When placed in a good location, it will happily self-sow.

In the moderately rich and well-drained soils of our shade trial gardens, Dicentra eximia persists through self-sowing, though not aggressively. We love how it rambles through the garden, naturalizing and providing color after Phlox divaricata and Aquilegia canadensis have ended their show. Good soil drainage is key to this plant’s happiness and it thrives in wildflower gardens and rock gardens in the shade. Wild bleeding heart provides nectar to long-tongued bumblebees and hummingbirds. 

Dicentra eximia Growing and Maintenance Tips

This perennial prefers a partially shaded site and well-drained soil. Wet soils during the winter and dry soils during the summer lead to plant loss. The foliage of fringed bleeding heart will not die back like that of old fashioned bleeding heart. Great naturalizer in shady rock gardens. Easily self sows where happy. To propogate by seed, sow in late summer. Division of the fibrous root system can be done in the spring every 3-4 years.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Early Spring
Early Spring

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
For Animals
Caution: Toxic
Native to North America
Ornamental Foliage
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Propagation Type
Open pollinated