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I have read on the internet that whilst its ok to cut back this dicentra because it looks ragged and brown/dead in places - only cut back to the new growth at the base.
I haven't got any new shoots at all. Does this mean this plant is lost to me because i didn't feed or water it properly when i originally planted it a few months ago or will it come back in the spring?
I am grateful for your positive reply as i was loosing faith! It was a present from a friend and i am feeling guilty that i may have killed it off still being a novice!
No, you haven't. I find that it always dies back to nothing in winter. I cut it back some years when it has grown particularly rampantly, but usually leave it alone and plant around it, like Christopher.
I give mine a haircut when flowering's finishing as its usully starting to flop and look tatty by then. I cut each stem to just above a leaf - about halfway. I find that gives the foliage a bit more longevity - i grows back a little and creates a nice tidy clump of about 2ft tall and wide. It is an early finisher though. Mine is planted around with marbled arum, as that starts coming up for the winter as the dicentra goes brown and needs chopping right back - usually mid-Septemberish. Then the dicentra takes over again come spring, leaving just the berrying spikes of the arum poking through. I chop these as I have small children. Both like the shady spot with heavy soil where I have them. I never feed or mulch either. You'll see the dicentra when it emerges in spring - it looks like celery!