European wild ginger makes a beautiful woodland ground cover that is evergreen in most areas. Add fringed bleeding heart to it and you have an enchanting combination that provides color and contrasting foliage over a long time. The leathery, glossy, dark green leaves of European wild ginger are heart shaped and are handsome throughout the growing season. The fern-like gray-green leaves of fringed bleeding heart appear in the spring and are followed quickly by the appearance of rosy-pink flowers on long branched racemes. Unlike common bleeding heart, fringed bleeding heart does not go dormant in summer and blooms sporadically all season. Grow this combo in shade with plenty of moisture in well-drained soil.
European Wild Ginger (Asarum europaeum) Although grown for its outstanding foliage, European wild ginger does have flowers. Appearing in spring, the flowers are small, greenish-yellow to brown, urn-shaped, and hidden under the foliage where they are fertilized by ground hugging insects. Plants do not tolerate high heat and humidity and are not suitable for southern gardens. Other wild ginger species are similar and tolerate more heat but do not have the leathery, glossy dark green leaves that make European wild ginger so outstanding as a ground cover.
Bloom Time: Spring
Size: 6-8” H x 8” W
Hardiness: Zones 4-7
Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia) Native to forest floors from Georgia to New York this herbaceous perennial is outstanding for its long bloom time. Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa) which is more drought tolerant but less heat tolerant can be substituted in the West and in northern areas throughout the country. Excellent cultivars of both species have been developed including white flowered ones that are also good companions for European wild ginger.
Bloom Time: Spring and sporadically throughout the summer
Size: 9-18” H x 18” W
Hardiness: Zones 3-9