Common Name: bleeding heart
Botanical Name: Lamprocapnos spectabilis (formerly Dicentra spectabilis)
Form: arching vase shape
Family: Papaveraceae (poppy family)
Species: spectabilis (showy)
Origin: China, Japan, Siberia, Korea
Plant Type: herbaceous perennial
Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9
Mature Size: 2 to 3 ft tall and wide
Foliage: dormant in summer, 3 lobed & compound, soft green
Flowers: April to May, showy pink heart shaped flowers with a white drop-shaped petal in the middle form along the undersides of arching stems.
Exposure: partial shade to shade
Soil: soil tolerant, prefers moist, well drained, humus rich
Uses: shade garden, woodland, perennial borders, shrub border, cut flower
Propagation: sometimes self-sows, root division in fall or early spring before they emerge
Problems: aphids, but not that common, slugs, they rot if soil is too wet
Cultivars: ‘Alba’ has white flowers, Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Gold Heart' bears yellow foliage
Comments: This easy to grow, low maintenance herbaceous perennial provides grace, beauty and drama with its delicate form and decorative neatly arranged heart shaped flowers. They dangle like earrings along the arching stems above a lacy mass of soft green, fern-like foliage. As the years pass the plant will become wider and will self-seed if the conditions are suitable.
Much to the surprise of many gardeners, this plant dies down in summer (spring ephemeral). It’s not dead. It will regrow the following spring. The hotter and dryer the summer, the quicker it will go into dormancy. To prolong its spectacular show, apply a 3 inch layer of a organic mulch and keep it watered during dry spells.
Prefers a cool climate and moist, organic rich soils. Bleeding hearts benefit from a yearly application of a couple of inches of compost, composted manure or other organic matter mixed into the soil. A 3 inch layer of an organic mulch is essential for bleeding hearts to hold moisture in the soil.