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Lamprocapnos spectabilis is often confused with:
Dicentra eximia Dicentra eximia
Native alternative(s) for Lamprocapnos spectabilis:
Dicentra canadensis leaves and flowers
Dicentra cucullaria Dicentra cucullaria
Dicentra eximia Dicentra eximia
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Phlox subulata Phlox subulata
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis
Weigela florida Flower and leaf detail close- up

Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Previously known as:

  • Dicentra spectabilis
  • Fumaria spectabilis
Phonetic Spelling
lam-pro-KAP-nos spek-TAB-il-iss.
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The bleeding heart is an erect, spring to early summer-blooming, herbaceous perennial that reaches a height and width of 2 to 3 feet. It grows in loose clumps or mounds and has delicate arching branches that are tipped with pink to white heart-shaped flowers. The green fern-like foliage is divided into 3 leaflets. By mid-summer, the leaves decline, turn yellow, and drop after blooming has ended. Adequate water may extend the time the leaves remain on the plant. While this plant goes dormant during the summer in warm areas, it can be forced to flower on Valentine's Day by bringing dormant rhizomes into a cool greenhouse in late winter. 

Bleeding hearts are native to Siberia, Japan, Northern China, and Korea. They are typically found in moist grasslands or shady forests.

The specific epithet, spectabilis, means spectacular or showy. The common name is derived from the exerted inner petals "bleeding" from the outer heart-shaped petals. This plant is a member of the Papaveraceae family.

This plant grows best in the morning sun with afternoon shade and is tolerant to heavy and partial shade. It will also tolerate full sun provided that it is in a cool moist climate. The soil needs to be neutral to alkaline, moist, well-drained, and rich humus soil. It can tolerate both clay and sand.  Propagate this plant through seeds or divide them in the fall or spring.  

The native to eastern North America, Dicentra eximia, or fringed bleeding heart, has a longer blooming period and fine-textured leaves. Dicentra formosa or western bleeding heart is native to the northwest United States.

Consider the bleeding heart for a cutting or woodland garden, a shade border, or use it as a filler plant. Think about the space this plant will leave as it declines in the summer months. Combine the bleeding heart with other plants such as ferns and hostas that will be thriving as the bleeding heart goes dormant.

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom: Spring to Early Summer   Foliage: Spring to Early Summer

Quick ID Hints:

  • clumping or mounding herbaceous perennial
  • Biternately compound leaves
  • green, coarsely lobed or toothed leaflets
  • flowers are raceme-like with 7 to 15 blooms that have heart-shaped petals with a reflexed apical lobe
  • fruit is an oblong capsule fruit with 2 to 8 seeds

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems though aphids are occasional visitors. Slugs may also feed on the leaves.  It is intolerant to wet soils in the winter and dry soils during the summer. All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. The foliage may cause dermatitis; therefore, gloves and other protective equipment are suggested when handling this plant.

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy, and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White blooms, tolerate of summer heat
  • 'Gold Heart'
    bright greenish golden foliage, rose pink heart-shaped flowers
'Alba', 'Gold Heart'
Tags:
#cultivars#hummingbird friendly#showy flowers#poisonous#houseplant#white flowers#pink flowers#nectar plant#shade garden#interiorscape#low maintenance#rabbit resistant#deer resistant#herbaceous perennial#delicate#vibrant#spring interest#alkaline soils tolerant#wildflower garden#fantz#clay soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#HS302#black walnut toxicity tolerant#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden#contact dermatitis#heart-shaped leaves#butterfly garden#landscape plant sleuths course#herb garden#wildlife friendly#cpp
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White blooms, tolerate of summer heat
  • 'Gold Heart'
    bright greenish golden foliage, rose pink heart-shaped flowers
'Alba', 'Gold Heart'
Tags:
#cultivars#hummingbird friendly#showy flowers#poisonous#houseplant#white flowers#pink flowers#nectar plant#shade garden#interiorscape#low maintenance#rabbit resistant#deer resistant#herbaceous perennial#delicate#vibrant#spring interest#alkaline soils tolerant#wildflower garden#fantz#clay soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#HS302#black walnut toxicity tolerant#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden#contact dermatitis#heart-shaped leaves#butterfly garden#landscape plant sleuths course#herb garden#wildlife friendly#cpp
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lamprocapnos
    Species:
    spectabilis
    Family:
    Papaveraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Siberia, Japan, Northern China, and Korea
    Distribution:
    Introduced: Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Sweden, Uzbekistan, and the United States
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Mounding
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is an oblong, 25 to 35 mm, capsule, and it contains 2 to 8 black, rounded, smooth seeds. Fruits are produced from April to June.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    The inflorescences are raceme-like with 7 to 15 flowers per pendulous raceme, bracts subulate, and heart-shaped in outline. Two sepals are inconspicuous, and four petals are in opposite pairs with the outer petals rose-red, pink to white, inner white petals usually have red and yellow markings and have tongue-shaped with convex inner faces and crested tips. They bloom from April to June depending on the climate.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, biternately compound; leaflets ovate, coarsely lobed or toothed, acute, cuneate; cauline leaves few, simple with lanceolate lobes. The leaves are green on the upper surface, and the undersides of the leaf are glaucous.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are thick, juicy, and 23 to 36 inches long. The petiole is 2 to 4.5 inches long.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Trembling, staggering, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and labored breathing. Skin irritation after repeated contact.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Contains isoquinolone alkaloids.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems