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Dutchmans Breeches

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Dutchman's Breeches - Dicentra cucullaria Hardy Planting Zones- 3-7 Sun or Shade – Part Shade to Full Shade Mature Height - 4-12" Mature Width - 6-12" Bloom Season – March - May Gardener Status - Beginner

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Here's how your plants will look on arrival. All plants are dormant with no leaves or foliage.

Dutchman Breeches -  Dicentra Cucullaria

Dutchman’s Breeches, also known as Dicentra cucullate, is a perennial wildflower that is native to the Eastern portion of the United States; though more rarely, the plant can also be found in the wooded areas of the Pacific Northwest. Dutchman’s Breeches blooms in the spring from March to April and goes dormant by mid-summer. The delicate looking flowers on this plant range in color from white to a very light pink and are bright yellow at the tip. The flowers on Dutchman’s Breeches resemble a pair of pants that are hanging upside down, with the ankle on top. The small flowers, about ¾ in., appear in rows on leafless stems that protrude up through the foliage. The leaves on Dutchman’s Breeches are roughly 4 inches long and resemble those on a fern, are deeply cut, and are greyish-green in color. These plants are smaller in size at just one foot tall and one foot wide. Dutchman’s Breeches thrive best with an average amount of moisture, in well-drained and humus soil, and in part to fully shaded areas.

Typically, Dutchman's Breeches are pollinated by bumblebees who have the ability, with their long proboscis, to tap the nectar. Honeybees can also pollinate Dutchman’s Breeches but not as quickly because they only can collect the pollen with their front feet.

Dutchman’s Breeches are best left in nature. However, if they are found in a garden because they go dormant by summer, they aren’t typically used as a border. If these plants are being used in a garden, they should be planted in the October or very early spring. It should be noted, that Dutchman’s Breeches grow from underground tubers. Therefore, if they are planted in the right conditions, they spread rapidly. They can be tamed by digging up and either removing or replanting the tubers.

Dutchman’s Breeches is a whimsical herbaceous perennial with gorgeous white blooms that resemble an upside down sailor’s pants. In winter, this rabbit and clay tolerant plant will grow best in dry soil. Dutchman’s Breeches is perfect for a wildflower garden needing a delicate bloom to complement deeper shades in early spring. It occurs naturally in valleys and along streams. Its foliage is similar to a common fern. It is closely related to bleeding heart, is mildly aphid susceptible, and highly resistant to disease.


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