What are Bleeding Hearts? And how to grow them.

What are Bleeding Hearts? And how to grow them.

Bleeding Hearts, also known as Lamprocapnos spectabilis, bears white or pink heart-shaped flowers with white tips which hang from arching flower stems. Naturalizing easily, this rhizome is native to Siberia, northern China, Korea, and Japan. Its blooms appear in late spring to early summer.

The Royal Horticultural Society has awarded the Bleeding Hearts plant its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).


The Basics

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Hardy in USDA Zones 3-9
  • Light needs: partial sun, dappled shade, full sun
  • Soil: Moist, well-drained
  • Soil type: Acidic / chalky / alkaline / sand
  • Planting period: February to May, September to November
  • Dormant period: Summer
  • Height at maturity: 60 cm
  • Spread at maturity: 45 cm
  • Attracts: Hummingbirds
  • Can be planted in: Borders and beds, rock gardens; woodlands
  • Does well as a cut flower for bouquets
  • Deer and rabbit Resistant
  • Precautions: NOT PET SAFE


How to plant

Plant your roots as soon as they arrive, in moist but well draining soil. If you are planting them directly in the ground, plant them about 6-8 centimeters deep and 5 per square meter. 



In a pot, make sure the container is big enough to allow for root development (30 centimeters per root), and pay extra attention to water it regularly, as plants in pots lose moisture faster. Your bleeding heart can live for four to five years in a large container before becoming root-bound and needing to be divided and repotted. More on this later!

If your soil is too poor or too sandy, you can add a good layer of dead leaves in autumn, which will enrich and soften your beds after a few years. Avoid synthetic fertilizers that only enrich the soil in the short term.

Weekly watering is recommended throughout the first year, during the warm season, to promote recovery. Stop watering when the leaves turn yellow and disappear.

The tender leaves are also rather sensitive to aphids, slugs and snails. Place ashes, eggshells or, failing that, granules that can be used in organic farming, without danger for animals that consume gastropods, around the stump.

In a moist and cool climate, it will grow in full sun, but in warmer and drier climates it requires some shade and more water.



After the flowers die back in early summer, you can prune the leaves. 

It might seem like the plants disappear in the summer, but the roots stay alive underground, and your plant will begin to regrow in the fall.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis can remain in the ground for many years and does not need dividing.

Root cuttings should be taken in spring, both if you grow it in pots or directly in the ground.


Did you know? 

The scientific name just recently changed from Dicentra spectabilis to Lamprocapnos spectabilis. It is the only species under the Lamprocapnos genus.

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