Bleeding Hearts of Coming Spring

Asian Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapros spectabilis) are perennials that tolerate this region’s cool springs and changeable weather well. They begin to grow along with daffodils and bloom into the summer among plants like hostas in a bed of nutrient wood chips.

A partial or full-shade plant that grows to about 30 inches tall, this one is situated at the edge of deciduous woods, so it does receive early spring sun before the trees leaf out. It thrives with adequate moisture from spring rains and tolerates dryer summer conditions in the shade. The heart-shaped pendant flowers dangle from the arching stems of this herbaceous plant. Deer are usually hesitant to browse the foliage or blooms. Rhizomes of the bleeding hearts may be established bare roots in spring. 

Asian Bleeding Hearts are native to Northern China, Korea, Japan, and Siberia and were introduced into Europe in the early 1800s. This poem’s translation describes the plant, also known as Peony Purses.

Delicate and quaint, with pendent drop of yearning unashamed

Bright as rosy clouds of eventide. ‘

Tis said that, long ago, near ancient Luoyang town,

There dwells a jade-bright maiden wise and pure,

Whose secret love was called away to war,

Each month a wondrous purse embroidered she to hang upon the bough,

Drawstring pulled tight upon sweet fragrance pent within.

Pity the girl who pictured daily thus her pining heart.

             from  Poems of a Hundred Flowers by Wang Wenying

Another snow remains for a moment. Soon all will be busy with spring.

Thank you for visiting Plant Exchange Blog. We hope to see you as we post next week.

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