Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 29, 2013

From: East Meadow, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Dicentra Late in Emerging in the Spring
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have had a bleeding heart plant that has come up for over 50 years. This year it did not come up. Is there anything I can do? Is there a chance that it will come up next year or should I assume that the life of this plant is over?

ANSWER:

It’s a wonderful achievement to have a bleeding heart (Dicentra sp.) for more than 50 years. Your heirloom plant has certainly lived a long life. As you know there are many situations that cause Dicentra to naturally go dormant after they bloom (heat and drought) but there are also some that can cause a total demise – waterlogged and heavy clay soil. Have patience and see if your plant is just delayed this spring in emerging.  If it doesn’t emerge within a reasonable time then some careful excavation around the planting site to see if there is any sign of life present in the fleshy root would be the next step. If there is no sign of life then it probably succumbed because of overly wet roots during the winter or a stem rot last fall.  There are many wonderful native Dicentra for you to try if your matriarch has left the garden.

 

From the Image Gallery


Dutchman's breeches
Dicentra cucullaria

Turkey corn
Dicentra eximia

Squirrel corn
Dicentra canadensis

Squirrel corn
Dicentra canadensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Seedball Germination in Dallas, TX
May 27, 2015 - Last Fall we created thousands of seedballs with Lady Bird's wildflower seed mixture, compost and clay, and planted them along a bike trail in Dallas, Texas. We are so disappointed because nothing h...
view the full question and answer

Wedding Flowers for Alabama
July 03, 2015 - I am considering planting wildflowers for my wedding in early/middle May of 2016. Could I plant seed this fall and have bloom by late April in time for my May wedding?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bluebonnets in late Fall from Georgetown TX
November 08, 2013 - Transplanting bluebonnets in October? Neighbor wants to share abundance of rosettes and good size plants- any suggestions or warnings? Will freeze/frost protection be needed if we get December freeze...
view the full question and answer

Desmanthus and Chamaecrista seeds
June 05, 2005 - Hello my wildflower specialist friend. I got 20 Desmanthus illinoensis and also Chamaecrista fasciculata seeds. Then I planted them in early March, when there was still frost, in clayish soil, not far...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Vacant Lot in the Big Apple
June 24, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We have recently gone in to restore a vacant plot in Harlem. This soil is varied, but mostly rubble, old slag, some sand in one area, old fill- pH 7-8.5. We dug a small tren...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.