Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba'
Common Name: bleeding heart 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils in part shade. Intolerant of wet soils in winter and dry soils in summer. The foliage usually goes dormant by mid-summer in the St. Louis area, but may die back earlier if soils are allowed to dry out. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lamprocapnos spectabilis has been a common, old garden favorite for many years. It is native to Japan. This is a late spring blooming perennial which typically grows to 24-36" tall and to 18-24" wide. Nodding, puffy, heart-shaped, rose-pink flowers with protruding white inner petals begin bloom in spring before the leaves emerge. Flowers dangle downward at regular intervals beneath long arching stems. Compound, biternate green leaves.

Synonymous with and formerly known as Dicentra spectabilis.

Specific epithet means spectacular or showy.

The common name is in reference to the protruding white inner petal on each heart-shaped flower which purportedly gives the flower the appearance of a "bleeding heart".

'Alba' is a white flowered form.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to aphid infestations. Good soil drainage is essential for plant survival. Foliage goes dormant in summer.


Best for the shaded border or woodland garden. Because foliage goes dormant, it is best to plant this bleeding heart through a loose ground cover or among later developing perennials such as hostas and ferns which will fill in as the bleeding heart foliage begins to die back.