Bleeding heart, or Lamprocapnos (formerly Dicentra), are elegant, shade-loving perennials grown for their pendulous spring flowers.
As woodland plants, they’re ideally suited to cool, shady spots in the garden with moist soil, including in containers. They can be grown in full sun, too, as long as the soil stays reliably moist. Before planting bleeding heart, it’s worth enriching your soil with plenty of leaf mould to boost its humus content and help it retain moisture.
Generally flowering in April and May, bleeding heart associates well with pulmonarias, aquilegias, hostas and navelwort. Avoid moving or disturbing them where possible, as they have brittle, far-reaching roots that are prone to breaking.
Discover some of our favourite bleeding heart to grow.
Lamprocapnos ‘King of Hearts’
At a glance ‘King of Hearts’ appears to have all pink flowers, but look closer and you’ll discover that the outer petals are delicately edged with white. The glaucous foliage sets off the flowers to perfection.
Lamprocapnos ‘Pearl Drops’
‘Pearl Drops’ is a beautiful pale-flowered variety with creamy flowers that are tinged with pink. It’s perfect for brightening up a shady corner. Discover more plants with white flowers.
Lamprocapnos ‘Burning Hearts’
Lamprocapnos ‘Burning Hearts’ is a particularly deep shade of reddish-pink. Show it off to its best advantage in a sunny spot.
The heart-shaped flowers of ‘Alba’ are pure white, so it’s a good choice for illuminating areas of light shade. Ferns and hostas make excellent planting partners.
‘Valentine’ is a beautiful bi-coloured variety with cherry-red outer petals and white inner petals. Great in a cottage garden border with complementary pink and purple flowers.
Once flowering is finished, bleeding heart foliage will die back as the plant enters dormancy in summer. Think about this when planting, and consider surrounding with summer interest plants that will help disguise the fading foliage.