Growing Guide
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Bleeding Heart

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Also known as Lyre Flower, Japanese Bleeding Heart, Common Bleeding Heart
Dicentra spectablis
Fumariaceae Family

Arching stems, heart shaped flowers, and divided foliage make this a spring-flowering favorite, ideal for moist, partially shaded areas. If conditions are dry, plants fade out by midsummer.

Site Characteristics
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
  • requires damp soil
  • requires high fertility
Foliage dies back if not enough moisture during summer.

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 9
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1.5 to 4 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom time:

  • late spring
  • early summer

Flower color:

  • white
  • pink

Outer petals are rosy pink,inner petals forming the heart's point are white. 'Alba' and 'Pantaloons' have all-white flowers.

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: medium


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • upright

Forms clump of arching stems.

Shape in flower: flower stalks with flowers hanging downward

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive - Will self-seed some under moist conditions.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Siberia, Northern China, and Korea
Special uses:
  • cut flowers
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, cuttings, division or separation - Sow seeds in late summer. Self-seeds some under moist conditions.

Make stem and root cuttings after flowering.

Not very tolerant of transplanting. Divide with care in fall after foliage has died or very early spring.

Maintenance and care:
Keep the soil moist but not soggy to prevent foliage from fading out in summer. When foliage dies down, cut it to the ground.

Plant with late-growing and flowering perennials or plant annuals to hide space left by plants after they fade out.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Slugs and snails (on new leaves)
Downy mildew
Verticillium wilt
Fungal leaf spots
'Alba' grows 2.5 feet tall and has white flowers.

'Pantaloons' grows 2.5 feet tall, has white flowers and is more vigorous than 'Alba'.

'Zestful' grows 1 to 1.3 feet tall, bears pink flowers from April to fall and tolerates more sun and heat than other bleeding hearts.