Valentine’s Day will soon be here and it’s time we shared a little of that love in our garden with plants that symbolize the holiday.
My favorite in the bunch is Valentine bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Hordival’). This spring-blooming perennial gets its name from the heart-shaped flowers that dangle from an arched stem, resembling bleeding hearts.
The hardy, shade-loving Valentine gets up to 2 feet tall and wide and blooms in April and May. After bleeding hearts bloom, they tend to turn brown and go dormant. When that happens, cut it back to the ground. Bleeding hearts are good companions with spring blooming bulbs, especially early ones. As the bleeding heart grows, it camouflages the browning foliage of the bulbs. Bleeding hearts are also good cut flowers.
Another spring blooming, hardy perennial with love in its name is Belarina Valentine primrose (Primula vulgaris ‘Kerbelred’). A shade lover, consider planting this in the ground, in pots or window boxes where you can enjoy the double-red flowers, which look like roses. It gets about 8 inches tall and 10 inches wide. Because the flowers are sterile, this primrose blooms for a long time.
For summer flowers, there’s ‘Valentine Lace’ hosta with blue-green, heart-shaped leaves. Another perennial for the shade garden, this hardy hosta gets about 20 inches tall and nearly 3 feet wide. The flowers are lavender and bloom midsummer.
‘Funny Valentine’ daylily (Hemerocallis hybrid) has large, rose-red flowers that don’t fade in the sun. This summer-blooming perennial gets about 2 feet tall and wide. It has arching stems with 25 flower buds per stalk, called a scape. Eight hours of sun is best, but it will do all right with four to six hours of sun. Daylilies are not affected by the plant-stunting, naturally occurring chemical juglone, which is emitted by black walnut trees.
If a little bit of clinginess doesn’t bother you, go for Valentine’s Day (Rosa ‘WEKamrav’), a hardy climbing rose. Clusters of velvety, double-red flowers repeat bloom on new and old growth of the sun-loving plant through summer. Introduced by Weeks roses, it gets 6 to 10 feet tall and could be grown on a trellis in a container, strung along a low growing fence or twined in a balcony railing.
Look for these plants in garden centers or at online retailers, and send your garden a valentine.