How to Grow Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra / Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

dicentra-bleeding-heart-a-curious-gardener-how-to-grow-image-1I heart Dicentras!

These beautiful late-spring flowering perennials are easy to grow and tolerant of a wide range of soil types. Their arching sprays of heart-shaped flowers gracefully extend out over the soft, delicate, fern like leaves. Ranging from almost maroon, through to white (but most commonly in shades of pink) the flowers gracefully hang down from the stem.

It looks great planted in large clusters in the front or middle of the border, and will take shade through to sunny conditions. Perfect for a shade / fern garden, or as part of a cottage garden, all it requires is moist soil (do not let it dry out).

Reasonably fast growing, these plants grow early, flower late spring, and will die back slowly. If it’s part of a scheme, I find it useful to cut back the whole plant once it’s flowered, and it grows back to form a neater shape, and looks presentable till it dies back for the winter.

Dicentras are happy in any good garden soil that is fertile but not too heavy. Enrich the soil with plenty of leaf mould before planting and apply mulch in autumn too. A light fertilising in March will help too!

Fully hardy, this plant’s is easy, rewarding, and beautiful!

PLEASE NOTE: Dicentra has had a name change as of 2011! Welcome Lamprocapnos spectabilis!

Origins: Dicentras are northern hemisphere plants, growing from Asia to North America. In their natural habitat they are found in moist soils in the cool margins of woodlands. This dicentra was first introduced in 1816, then disappeared from cultivation but was reintroduced by plant collector Robert Fortune in 1846.


You can get some here!

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3 Responses to How to Grow Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra / Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

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  2. VP says:

    PS – forgot to say, I heart Dicentra too! I love how their early growth is like dragon’s claws coming out of the earth and thinking back to Fergus’s talk about garden layers last week, they’re perfect for disguising post flowering daffodil foliage. I’m growing the white form too – it’s growth is weaker, but I love the way it lights up a shady spot.

    Oh, and I can’t get on with its new latin name either! Dicentra is the name which sticks in my brain.

  3. VP says:

    Hi Colin – it was great to meet you last week and discover your blog, now I’m home :)

    Thanks for your comment over at mine – please don’t feel any pressure about blogging about Great Dixter even though plenty of us have. The idea is to tell your story as and when you’re ready!

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