Bleeding Heart Growing Guide

Lamprocapnos spectabilis (formerly Dicentra spectabilis)

Bleeding Heart

Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil enriched with compost, with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH.


Partial shade.

Frost tolerant

Yes, bleeding heart is a hardy perennial. Well-rooted plants are hardy to -30°F (-34°C).


Drench with a liquid organic fertilizer when plants begin to grow tall in late spring or early summer.


Single Plants: 2' 5" (75cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 2' 5" (75cm) with 2' 5" (75cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Bare-root or potted plants of named varieties are widely available in spring, which vary in color from white, to pink, to red. Set out plants as early as possible, while the soil is still cool. Spread the roots with your fingers, and take care not to bury the crown, which can lead to rotting. Young plants need water when they are actively growing. A surface mulch suppresses weeds while making the plants look more attractive. Bleeding hearts resent root disturbance and need dividing only every five years or so.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Bleeding hearts settle in quickly, and often bloom in their first year in the garden. Over time, bleeding hearts grow into stable clumps that never wander. The bushy foliage fades in late summer, which can create a gap in the shade garden that is easily filled with a pot of impatiens. A few Dicentra species are native to the US, and are worth trying in their home ranges.


Gather stems for use in cut arrangements as you need them. When trimmed and given fresh water every few days, the stems can last two weeks in a vase.


Overly wet conditions can lead to crown rot. Plants die back naturally in late summer.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Bleeding Heart