Bleeding heart, an exceptional perennial

Three handfuls of bleeding heart flowers picked and strewn across a pastel blue plank of wood.

Bleeding heart is a sumptuous perennial bearing elegant and colored flowers.

Basic Bleeding heart facts

Name – Lamprocapnos spectabilis
FormerlyDicentra spectabilis
Family – Papaveraceae

Type – perennial
Height – 8 to 24 inches (20 to 60 cm)
Exposure – part sun

Soil – ordinary, well drained
Flowering – May to August

Caring for this from planting to blooming is quite easy and its decorative impact is exceptional.

Planting bleeding heart

When to plant bleeding heart

Equally good are spring and fall for plants purchased in pots.

However, it is slightly better to plant in fall to favor root development before winter hits. If you plant during spring, avoid days of frost and freezing.

How to plant its seedlings

If properly settled in, bleeding heart requires very little care. It is thus important get the planting step right.

  • It revels in part sun and like being sheltered from cooler winds.
  • Space plants at least 16 inches (40 cm) from one to the next.
  • Prefer rich soil like soil mix, ensure it drains well.
  • Keep the soil cool with mulch, especially in summer. This is the key to extending the bloom.
  • Finally, remember to water regularly spring and summer for the 1st year after planting.

You can easily split your bleeding heart through crown division in fall.

Pruning and caring

A long flower scape with bleeding heart flowers dangling down from it.Bleeding heart is easy to care for and shouldn’t give you any problems, even for beginning gardeners…

  • Cut wilted flowers often in order to boost flower-bearing.
  • Add fertilizer in spring.
  • Water in case of dry spells or strong heat waves.
  • Protect your plant, especially young ones, from winter frost spells.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis species and varieties

Although most varieties bear pink flowers, some are white-flowered such as Lamprocapnos cucullaria and L. formosa aurora.

  • Among the interesting pink-flowered varieties, L. eximia and Lamprocapnos ‘Firecracker’ stand out.

Learn more about bleeding heart

White bleeding heart flower.This magnificent bulb perennial is mysterious and enchanting even for its name.

Indeed, along a floral scape 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) long, very beautiful pink, white or red hearts appear, each about 1 inch (2 to 3 cm) long.

Another name for the plant refers to Saint Mary: Mary’s heart. The name alone will help you soothe your soul if you plant it near your meditation garden.

This is a classical elegant ornament plant. It will grow and shine in a flower bed, along edges or in a garden box.

A true marvel all summer long, in the garden or on your terrace!

Lastly, note that bleeding heart is poisonous. Always handle with gloves to forego risks of skin rash.

Recently, genetic research places this plant in a family of its own: Lamprocapnos spectabilis. It’s actually a cousin of the common poppy plant!

Smart tip about L. spectabilis

Early spring, spread mulch around the plant to avoid weed growth. Besides, mulch even keeps water from drying out, thus saving on watering.

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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Picked bleeding heart flowers by Wokandapix under Pixabay license
Bleeding heart flower scape by Anja under Pixabay license
White bleeding heart variety by Susanne Jutzeler under Pixabay license