Be Still My Hearts
By Veronica Russell
Published: 02/22/2009  Updated: 08/14/2019

This adaptable Pacific Northwest native plant is perfect for coastal gardens. Your reward for providing well-drained soil is delicate clusters of pink and purple blooms.

The Bleeding Heart, so named for its distinctive heart-shaped flowers, is a popular ornamental perennial commonly seen in Northwest woodland gardens and often providing dramatic effect in cut flower arrangements. Typically a shade-loving plant, it can grow in full sun if planted in a cool area. Ideal for temperate climates like ours here on the coast, the Bleeding Heart prefers to be kept moist in neutral to alkaline soil with good drainage. The plant grows up to 36 inches in height and its drooping blooms first appear in April or May, continually flowering until mid summer. The Northwest Coast is home to a native species from the same genus called the Pacific Bleeding Heart (shown here). This plant can be spotted growing in moist forests and along ravines and stream banks. Foliage of this native species is lacey and delicate. Its flowers, usually pink to light purple in color, grow in clusters. Look closely next time you're out on a Pacific Northwest nature walk and you might just catch a rare glimpse of this lovely local celebrity of the plant kingdom.
Be Still My Hearts