Asian Bleeding Heart

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{This bygl-alert is a Plant Profile from student Mackenzie Morton in OSU’s Horticulture and Crop Science 3410, “Sustainable Landscape Maintenance”, Spring 2020}


Asian Bleeding Heart by Mackenzie Morton


It is no surprise how the Asian bleeding heart plant (Lamprocapnos spectablis), native to Japan, received its name, as in the cool of spring, the heart-shaped flower with its single dangling pendulous drop-like bloom appears. The array of flowers dangle downward beneath long arching stems.


Asian bleeding heart
Asian bleeding heart blossoms from 2017 in northeast Ohio. Many were blasted by frost in 2020


The leaves of this plant are compound, biternate (each of two leaflets is further divided into two leaflets), and green. The bleeding heart, a woodland plant, love to be planted in shady areas. This plant will stay in bloom for several weeks and will remain as beautiful green bushes if they are not exposed to much sun or heat.


Asian bleeding heart
Asian bleeding heart in mixed planting in 2015 in northeast Ohio


If bleeding hearts are exposed to extreme heat conditions, they often become ephemeral and disappear for the remainder of the summer season. However, the roots of the plant remain alive and the bleeding heart plant will reemerge in the fall or the following spring.


There are also varieties (such as the fringed-leaf types) that will bloom multiple times throughout the summer. For the varieties that only bloom once, it is best to plant this bleeding heart among perennials that develop later in the season, such as hostas and ferns, which will fill in as the bleeding heart foliage begins to die back.


Important information about the requirements of the Bleeding Heart Plant:


  • The Bleeding Heart Plant can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3-9
  • Bleeding hearts do best in partial to full shade.
  • Bleeding hearts prefer humus-rich, moist soil, with lots of organic matter, but are not particular about soil pH.
  • Keep plants well-watered throughout the summer, especially in warmer weather.


Asian bleeding heart
Asian bleeding heart, Lamprocapnos spectabilis, in northeast Ohio in 2017


  • Final Notes: Bleeding heart is in the Papaveraceae, the poppy family.  Some people develop skin irritations from the foliage, so take care.  Laprocapnos spectablis was formerly classified as Dicentra spectabilis. Something to try if your garden has bleeding heart blooms this year (in some gardens frost killed flower buds) is to pull back the two outer pink petals to reveal two white inner petals – revealing…another name for this flower…Lady-In-A-Bath!
  • Asian bleeding heart
    Lady in a Bath, Asian bleeding heart, with outer pink petals pulled back. Photo credit to Holger Casselmann