Bloody hearts are unique flowers. There is nothing like them, with their hanging flowers in the shape of a heart.
In addition, they are very popular because they add color to shaded areas and are very easy to care for.
Imagine a cottage garden without them. It’s pretty hard, right?
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But if you bring home a pure white beauty, can you count on it staying pure white? Many flowers change color depending on the circumstances. Are bleeding hearts one of them?
It’s not nice if you plant a completely pink garden and a plant decides to mess things up by changing its colors, right?
As with many things in life, there is no clear answer to the question. These plants do not normally change hue, but it is very possible (although unlikely) that they do. Isn’t nature fun?
In this guide, we will explore the science of flower color change and whether it affects Lamprocapnos and Dicentra species. This is what you can expect:
If this is your first time planting these graceful beauties, you can read our growing guide which will introduce you to these plants, the best cultivars, and how to make them thrive.
It’s pretty easy, but it never hurts to cover the basics, even if you’re an experienced grower.
Now that we have it out of the way, let’s find out what the heck is going on.
Table of Contents:
- What colors do bleeding hearts come in?
- Do bleeding hearts change color?
- What are the causes of color change in flowers?
- These hearts are still faithful
What colors do bleeding hearts come in?
Blood hearts come in a wide range of colors, including red, pink, yellow, white, rose, burgundy, purple, or a combination of these shades.
Native North American species (Dicentra) tend to have duller colors and smaller flowers. However, some Lamprocapnos spectabilis cultivars and hybrids have extremely vibrant hues.
You can see vibrant black, blue, or purple bloody hearts for sale online. These are not the true colors of the plant.
They may be stained or painted, or simply a scam. If those who show up at your door in the shadows advertise themselves as, and that’s a big yes, they won’t stay that way.
But let’s say you buy a traditional pink one. What if it starts to grow white one year? What’s happening?
Do bleeding hearts change color?
In a word, no. At least not usually.
If you started out with a pink-flowered plant and apparently switched to producing white flowers a year, it’s very unlikely that the flowers changed color.
Chances are you either had a white plant there some time ago and it became dominant, or there was a sneaky white plant in the same pot as the rose and this year it won out.
Similarly, if you have two plants growing next to each other that have different shades, it’s possible that one has overloaded the other.
Finally, you may have purchased a plant that is incorrectly labeled as the wrong color. You expected yellow but in the end you turned red.
Bleeding heart plants are not prone to color changes at different soil pH levels, unlike hydrangeas, so it is unlikely that an alteration in soil acidity or alkalinity caused the color change.
They also don’t change color during the season like some flowers do, like roses.
Now, having said that, nature is wild and unpredictable. All kinds of weird, unexpected and unusual things happen out there. It is possible, though unlikely, that your plant has a genetic mutation that causes it to bloom a different shade of flowers each year.
But as a rule, these plants do not have flowers that change color.
What are the causes of color change in flowers?
The flowers of many different species can change color. As mentioned above, hydrangeas change based on the pH of the soil. Age and temperature can also cause roses to change.
Sometimes a grafted plant can return to the shade of the rootstock plant. Hibiscus will change color depending on the temperature.
But neither of these situations apply to bleeding hearts. They stay the same color, even when the pH or temperature of the soil changes. They do not tend to fade as they mature and are not grown on a different type of rootstock, such as grafted plants.
Other flowers will change hue depending on whether or not they have been pollinated. It’s a bit like putting up a welcome sign for pollinators and “closing” once a bee or butterfly has visited.
But again, this does not apply to plants of the Dicentra or Lamprocapnos genera.
Some flowers are getting darker to adapt to climate change and changing levels of UV exposure, a study published in Current Biology in 2020 showed.
Professor Mathew Kloski, Drew MacQueen and Tai-Lynn Ashman from Clemson University’s Department of Biological Sciences found that dozens of species, and particularly those with exposed anthers, have become more pigmented in recent decades.
So maybe, just maybe, if you could swear your flowers were a much paler shade of pink a long time ago, it might not be your imagination. Your plant could adapt to climate change.
These hearts are still faithful
Except in a few unique circumstances, bleeding hearts won’t change you.
Unless a competing plant has won the battle for supremacy, or a strange mutation occurs, they will continue to appear year after year in the same color they always were.
Isn’t it nice to know that some things can be trusted to stay the same? What color of flowers do you have in your garden? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
I hope that this guide has helped to resolve the question of whether these plants change color or not. If you still have other questions and found it helpful, consider checking out one of our other guides to farming bleeding hearts, starting with these:
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
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