If you have a plant that has a short bloom time, and then dies off or goes dormant leaving a hole in your garden, think about companion plants to fill in the gap.
Bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis), for example, can be frustrating as they move from their charming spring bloom to dormancy. Once the foliage has turned completely yellow, you can cut it back.
Classic companions include hostas and ferns. Their foliage is usually picking up speed just as the bleeding heart finishes blooming and begins to decline. Brunnera macrophylla makes a good partner as well. The cultivar ‘Jack Frost’ is very popular. This plant has green and white spotted foliage and blue spring flowers. It blooms about the same time as bleeding heart, but its foliage remains attractive all summer.
More Companion Plant Ideas for Bleeding Hearts
Astilbes bloom in early to midsummer, with large plumes of bright flowers held upright. These may be just the trick for screening your bleeding hearts’ demise. Bear in mind that astilbes require regular watering.
You might also try planting Dicentra ‘King of Hearts’ or ‘Luxuriant’—bleeding heart hybrids that bloom all summer in cool regions and offer a rebloom after a short midsummer rest in warmer climates. In all areas, their foliage looks decent all summer long. Cultivars of the eastern-U.S. native fernleaf bleeding heart (D. eximia), such as ‘Burning Hearts’, also provide longer bloom and green foliage through the summer if you deadhead the spent flowers and do not allow the plants to dry out. The same can be said for native Pacific bleeding heart (D. formosa).