FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Dicentra eximia is a mounding evergreen wildflower. Leaves are bluish green and compound with a delicate ferny demeanor. Foliage is crowned by large branching clusters of lovely hot pink heart shaped blooms for several weeks in spring. The jewel-like flowers provide valuable nectar for migrating hummingbirds and native bumblebees. Plants thrive in moist rich woods in shade to part sun.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: Dicentra eximia is native to the eastern United States from Vermont to Illinois and south to the mountains of Georgia and Tennessee.
For the most part, plants are indigenous to rich acidic wooded slopes, coves and gorges in the Appalachian Mountains.
Hardy from USDA Zones 4-8.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Dicentra eximia is a native evergreen perennial with a bushy habit.
Leaves are twice compound with oval toothed leaflets that are reminiscent of fern fronds. Foliage is airy, bluish green and very attractive.
In early spring before the tree canopy leafs out, flower panicles emerge and are displayed above the foliage for several weeks.
The individual florets have two pairs of dissimilar petals. The outer petals are bright pink with rounded spurs. The inner petals are fused together at the tip and appear to drip from beneath the outer petals. The oblong pendant florets have a heart shaped appearance.
Flowering occurs from early spring until early summer and occasionally sporadically after. Capsules with many small seed follow the flowers.
Plants grow from scaly rhizomes and usually attain a height of 1-1.5’ and a spread of 1.5-2’.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Dicentra eximia grows best in filtered shade or part sun in moist well drained soil.
Plants will tolerate brief periods of droughts. They will not adapt to wet winter soil or excessively long periods of summer drought.
Deadheading can extend the blooming period and prevent unwanted seedlings.
Plants are relatively pest free and are usually not palatable to deer and rabbits.
LANDSCAPE USES: This wildflower is a perfect candidate for Shade Gardens or Wildlife Gardens. Dicentra eximia is also used as an Accent, Groundcover or in Groupings or Mass Plantings. This plant provides Showy Blooms and can be used in Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Rock Gardens, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings and Perennial Borders.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try planting Dicentra eximia with spring blooming wildflowers like Iris cristata, Polemonium reptans, Tiarella cordifolia and Heuchera americana ‘Dales Strain’.
Carex pennsylvanica, Osmunda cinnamomea, Athyrium filix-femina and Polystichum acrostichoides are nice foliage companions.
Aquilegia canadensis has similar cultural needs and can be substituted for this plant if needed.
TRIVIA: Dicentra eximia provides nectar to long-tongued native bees like bumblebees. Honeybees have tongues that are too short to reach the nectar.
The floral nectar is a favorite of migrating hummingbirds providing sustenance at a time when few other flowers are in bloom.
Like Trillium spp., the seed of this species are coated with a nutritious and sticky elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants feed on the on the lipids in the elaiosome and distribute the seed as they return to their nests.
Dicentra eximia is a member of the Fumitory family (Fumariaceae) and is related to opium poppies. Due to the plant’s alkaloid content, ingestion causes a toxic reaction and repeated contact with the sap can cause skin irritation.
This plant is a No Advance Order plant, which means it is only available to order when the plant appears on our Availability and must be shipped within 2 weeks of ordering. We are more than happy to add you to a list to contact you when the plants become available. We cannot offer approximate dates of when the plants will be available next.