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Lamprocapnos s. Alba – White Bleeding Heart

Lamprocapnos spectabilis Alba, white bleeding heart, is similar to the pink-flowered version of bleeding heart we are all so familiar with.

White bleeding heart is easily grown in shady gardens that have moist soil. Heat and dry soil will force bleeding heart into the dormancy that is normal once summer comes. Bleeding heart can be grown in heavy shade, but will easily tolerate morning sun.

perennial bleeding heart
Lamprocapnos spectabilis Alba – white bleeding heart.

Bleeding heart grows to a couple of feet tall and is gracefully airy planted among ferns and shade perennials. Bleeding heart is winter hardy USDA zones 3-9.

White bleeding heart is best used in the garden with some pre-planning. Since bleeding heart typically goes dormant during the summer, interplant Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ with later developing perennials that will take over space as the gardening season progresses. This technique is useful for many of the winter or early spring perennials such as lenten rose.

White bleeding heart can tolerate heavy shade.

There are very few plants that will grow and flower well in heavy shade. Cast iron plant is one of them, but planting cast iron plant is like giving up. To cast iron plant’s credit it can actually tolerate the one-two punch of heavy shade AND dry soil.

Bleeding heart will flower well in the deeper and darker parts of the garden if soil moisture is plentiful. Do not plant it in a dry upland forest setting or it will fail. I reckon the reason white bleeding heart does well in shadier parts of the garden is that when it begins flowering, many of the hardwood trees that will eventually cover the garden with deep canopy are still beginning to leaf out.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis will reseed and spread if conditions are optimal. It is not aggressive and not an invasive threat.

White bleeding heart has no pests or diseases of consequence. It is not a plant for formal spaces. Plant it in a way that suggests it wandered in one day and decided to stay. Plant white bleeding heart in a place where its casual elegance can come to the forefront…a cottage garden, a shaded wood, at the edge of a stream.

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