Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Bleeding heart

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour






Skill level


Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Plant details

Formerly known as Dicentra spectablilis, bleeding heart is a Chinese plant bearing pink-red, heart-shaped flowers with white tips, which hang from arching flower stems in late spring to early summer. Although it grows in light shade and looks good growing in clumps amongst shrubs, it often does even better in a sunny border, provided the soil stays sufficiently moist. Clumps of dicentra remain compact for many years and do not need dividing, fortunately, because they have brittle roots and do not like disturbance – instead, try taking root cuttings in spring. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Papaveraceae

Genus: Lamprocapnos

Species: spectabilis

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: Pink

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 60cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to divide plants: March to May

Time to take cuttings: December to January

Time to plant: March to June

Flowering period: April to June

Reader reviews


I planted dicentra few years back, it has grown well but in the middle seems to have altered - it has 1 clump of purple flowers that do not arch. What? Why? What shallI do?


i love my bleeding heart. It brightens up a partially shady spot in the garden with a burst of colour. I love it until it dies away in the late summer leaving a rather sad gap throughout the autumn. Does anyone have any suggestions for how i can fill this? Should i put in a bedding plant when it starts to go or are there any suitable autumn flowering bulbs?


I love my bleeding heart however. The dead flowers are leaving pods behind that are still attached to the arch, I have dissected one and it seems to have about 5-8 seedsis this right? And how is best to cultivate them.


Seed Collecting: you can use a clear bag over seed heads to capture ripening seed. Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds. You can sow direct outdoors or in pots in the autumn


I bought a large bleeding heart in late spring in full bloom, it has flowered well but once the flowers finished it looks as if it is dying, is this normal?


I bought a dicentra spectabilis after seeing it in your magazine. Unfortunately I left it in the greenhouse and was caught out by the unseasonably hot weather yesterday and now its all shrivelled and looks as if its about to die. Can I plant the rhizome in the garden or will the plant die completely?


Just bought one of these and planted it today - am now panicking that ive planted it too early and I love it so so much :(

flowering rose

I love this plant,I knew it as bleeding hearts,If you turn the flower upside down it looks like a lady with a dress on,plants like it to be damp so keep well waterd.


Look closer at the upside down flower and you will see a 'Lady in the Bath!'- another of it's old names.

Mrs storm

Bought these as roots few years back. Absolute beautiful. The detail, shape and colour in those petit little hearts mind me of a baby's in the womb 💕
I saw a programme or red article bout them needing dividing every 2/3ys which goes against the advice above. However I now have 2 and they continue to mesmerise me even with abuse they take from my chickens. I just wish they lasted bit longer; like all year 😙


I have "bleeding hearts" and a few of them are in the wrong place. Also, the bed where they are, needs the soil improving considerably. They flowered well this year but I don't know when is the best time to move them and condition my soil. Any advice greatly appreciated.


I have clay soil, have tried planting at the front of a border and no success.


I have clay soil, have tried planting at the front of a border and no success.

Stoneage mum

I grow Dicentra Spectabilis in my very shady woodland garden and it is one of the few plants that does well. It flowers at a good time too - after the spring bulbs but before the summer perennials. Inexpensive to buy as a root but i get on best starting it in a pot then planting out before flowering.

Hayley Wakeford

I have a few of these plants now, I have found them really hardy I have lifted and divided it them last year, and re-planted them in heavy clay soil and their doing amazing well!!

Toni 3

I bought this plant to put in my large container about a month ago and it has started dying already, what am i doing wrong as i read it should die off late summer

Helen Davies3

can anyone tell me when and how is the best way to split a bleeding heart thank you

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