Growing Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Spectabilis)

bleeding heart

Dicentra spectabilis or bleeding heart name is actually – Lamprocapnos spectabilis.
Bleeding heart is a rhizomatous perennial herbaceous plant native to eastern Asia from Siberia south to Japan. It produces wonderfully delicate flowers from long arching stems. It makes a wonderful addition to any mixed border, and can be very easy to grow.

  • In the UK, after flowering, the plant tends to die back where it lies dormant until next spring.
  • In fact the biggest problem with Bleeding heart is forgetting where you planted and then digging it up or planting other shrubs too close.

bleeding heart

Bleeding Heart makes good cut flower.

  • The plant is a natural woodland plant so needs protection from intense sun. In the north of England full sun, will probably be fine. Though in warmer climates it may need protecting from glare of midday sun.
  • When hot and sunny, keep well watered
  • Being a woodland plant, Bleeding heart are not heavy feeders, a good soil should be adequate for feeding requirements.
  • It is easiest to grow from tubers, which can be split when dormant. To grow from seed requires patience. Also you need to use fresh seed – the seed is very tiny – almost powdery.
  • Bleeding Heart do not need to be dead-headed or pruned. They will definitely not get too big.

bleeding heart

Personal Comments


I think that Bleeding Heart makes one of the most delicate and attractive late spring flowering plants. Despite its delicate looks, it is actually quite a tough and robust plant.

Bleeding hearts attract few diseases and pests. The most important thing is to plant them at the correct space and make sure they don’t get overcrowded. Also because they die back later in the year, you can forget where they were planted.

Bleeding heart like medium soil in shade or partial shade. They don’t need any special fertilising but, benefit from a well manured soil, enriched with organic matter.

Every 3-4 years, they will benefit from being divided to prevent overcrowding and providing new plants. They are best planted 2-3 feet apart. They can be divided by carefully taking root cuttings. The root cuttings will need an eye or bud and be of reasonable length.

Another popular variety is the white flowered variety.

5 Responses to Growing Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Spectabilis)

  1. Alan May 6, 2010 at 16.03 #

    I have a nice clump of ‘Bleeding Heart’ and it is looking vibrant at the present time. One tip for anyone growing it for the first time; as soon as the shoots are about 18 inches high put in a length of cane behind the plant and loosely tie in the plant to it. This avoids any later gales from blowing it down as it will not stand up to strong winds.


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