A garden favorite for many years, Lamprocapnos Spectabilis or The Bleeding Heart, formerly known as Dicentra spectablilis, has soft green foliage and pink and white heart-shaped flowers with white tips, which hang from arching flower stems in late spring to early summer. Reasonably fast growing, these plants grow early, flower late spring, and will die back slowly.
Common names: Bleeding Heart, Asian bleeding-heart, Dutchman’s breeches, Lyre flower and Lady-in-a-bath.
Family: Poppy family Papaveraceae
Native: Siberia, northern China, Korea and Japan.
Plant type: Hardy perennial. Deciduous.
Light: Full sun to Part shade
Soil: Well-drained (light), Clay (heavy), Acidic, Chalky, Alkaline
Moisture: Medium Moisture
Flowering period: April to June
Flower Color: Pink, White
Height: 120 cm (47 in)
Spread: 45 cm (18 in)
Time to plant: March to June
Propagation: Propagate by division in early spring (March to May) or after the leaves have died down. Propagate by root cuttings in winter (December to January).
Uses: Beds, borders.
Cultivars: ‘Alba’ has white flowers, and ‘Gold Heart’, introduced from Hadspen Garden, England, in 1997, has yellow leaves.
Toxicity: All parts cause stomach ache if ingested, the foliage may cause skin irritation in some people from isoquinoline-like alkaloids.
Tips: Foliage generally goes dormant in summer, so be sure to choose companion plants carefully so there isn’t an empty space left in the garden. Clumps of the bleeding heart remain compact for many years and do not need dividing. They have brittle roots which are easily damaged when disturbed. In a moist and cool climate, it will grow in full sun, but in warmer and drier climates it requires some shade. Enrich the soil with plenty of leaf mould before planting and apply mulch in autumn too. A light fertilizing in March will help.
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