Shade Loving Native Plants of the
United States & Canada

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Dicentra Cucullaria (L.), Dutchman's Breeches

Dicentra cucullaria (L.)  Dutchman's breeches
Photo Credit:  Jennifer Anderson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

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Dicentra cucullaria (L.)
Dutchman's  Breeches

Native Distribution Map

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USDA Zones:  3 - 7

Shade tolerance: Shade, Part Shade

Moisture:  Medium, Moist

Height:  6” - 1’

Propagation: Bedding plants, plugs, root & crown division

Dutchman’s breeches is a low growing, perennial, easily identifiable native flower that grows in rich, moist, shady conditions over a wide range in the US and Canada. 

Dicentra cucullaria has fine textured, fern-like foliage and conspicuous white, waxy flowers that look like miniature pantaloons.  An early spring bloomer, Dutchman’s breeches goes dormant by summer.  It is an excellent choice for naturalizing in shaded wooded areas. 

Growth requirementsDicentra cucullaria is intolerant of wet soils at any time of the year.   Rich, evenly moist soils are ideal.  This spring bloomer will be all but invisible by summer, so it is a good idea to mark the spot.  Clay soils are not recommended.

BenefitsDutchman’s breeches is deer resistantShowy.  Early bloomer.  Tolerates deep shade well. 

WARNING:  All parts of Dicentra cucullaria are poisonous, but toxic only in large quantities.

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