Friday 29 June 2012

The National Dicentra Collection

I hope you like the Bleeding Heart wallpaper on my site. It reflects the fact that I hold the national dicentra collection. This is not as grand as it sounds. Thirty years ago when the new National Society of Garden Plants, as it was then called, looked for volunteers, they were not as fussy as they are now. I protested to a colleague that I knew nothing about dicentras. He replied, ‘If you get the collection you will’.

It's not dicentra time now, for the most popular varieties, but I would like to whet your appetite with a few favourites.

Dicentra formosa oregona ‘Pearl Drops’

Dicentra formosa oregona ‘Pearl Drops’ has a long flowering season and lovely glaucus foliage. It is sometimes sold as 'Langtrees’ - frankly, I cannot tell the difference and believe there is none.

Dicentra formosa alba

Dicentra formosa alba comes true from seed (of course white varieties with cultivar names do not). In practice if you sow it's seed, you will normally get some that come up coloured - throw them away.

This white variety is frequently offered in the trade as Dicentra eximia alba. This is wrong. I know no one who has it in the UK.  Dicentra eximia (not alba) is offered by seedsmen such as Chilterns and comes true. If any U.S. follower can let me have spare seed of the true eximia alba, I would be very grateful.

Dicentra formosa

Dicentra formosa is very promiscuous and many of my seedlings have no name. 

You might like these future dicentra posts
Dicentra formosa
Dicentra scandens
An important botanical principle


  1. I am very fond of dicentras as I have a shady garden though I don't have much of a variety. Some years ago I did have a beautiful low growing one with silvery-grey feathery foliage and very pale whitish-pink flowers but I managed to lose it. Looking at the pictures above I now think this might have been formosa 'pearl drops' or 'langtrees'. I've been looking for places to buy but there are very few and the postage costs are ridiculously high! Does anyone know of any nurseries in the West Midlands that might stock this plant?

    1. I googled Plant Finder and went to the RHS site
      Put in Dicentra Pearl Drops and then if you are still looking Langtrees and you will find loads of suppliers. As I don't know exactly where you are Caroline thats the best I can do.
      I initially failed to find them because the automatic 'prompt' did not offer them to me. Insist and type in the complete name e.g. 'Dicentra 'Pearl Drops ' and they will come up.
      I am doing a post on Dicentra in two weeks time!


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