Bleeding hearts have a unique, heart-shaped blossom that seems to split open and reveal a white drop. The shape of the plant has also led horticulturists to nickname it Dutchman’s trousers. Bleeding hearts grow wild in the damp soil of woodland forests. Because of this, companion plants for bleeding hearts must also be plants that grow well in this environment.
Hostas are a cousin of the lily plant that are grown for their foliage instead of their flowers. Hostas produce wide, heart-shaped flowers that are often veregated in shades of green and white. As a hosta grows older, the plant expands its root system and produces larger and larger mounds of leaves. An older, established hosta plant may produce a shrub-like mound of leaves that is several feet high.
Lily of the Valley
Lilies of the valley are a popular flower for weddings because the plant produces a stalk of delicate, bell-like flowers at the center of short, sword-shaped leaves and an intense, sweet fragrance. Lily of the valley has been cultivated for over 1,000 years and the plant is even mentioned in the Bible. Lily of the valley reproduces through bulbs and can quickly become invasive in an area if it is not controlled.
Ferns are among the oldest plants in the world. Fossil records show that the plants coexisted alongside dinosaurs. Ferns are lower on the evolutionary scale than seed plants. They are a popular landscape plant for their ability to grow in low lighting conditions where plants that prefer dappled sunlight will not grow. Ferns grow best in areas with a high organic content, such as a forest floor with lots of leaf mold. Most ferns are damaged by freezing temperatures and should be replanted yearly in planting beds in subtropical climates.
Wild ginger is not the same as the fleshy root that you use in cooking, although it can be used as a substitute for ginger spice. Wild ginger grows in shaded woodland areas as a groundcover. The plant will reach up to 10 inches tall and 24 inches wide. The plants spread by rhizomes that run beneath the ground and are moderate in their spreading habit. The flowers are rarely seen in wild ginger, because the small, brown, cup-shaped flowers are usually hidden beneath the foliage. Wild ginger has a wide variety of leaf shapes and color patterns among its many cultivators. Gardeners often plant several species together to take advantage of the collectible nature of the plant.