The Bleeding Heart Flower: Its Meanings & Symbolism

Bleeding heart flowers

While some flowers are subtle or send mixed messages, the Bleeding Heart is both bold and dramatic. This flower has many names, but the plant has the same basic meanings no matter what it is called. Whether you grow these perennial flowers in your garden or enjoy viewing them in floral arrangements, you should read up on the deeper meanings behind those voluptuous and curving petals.

What Does the Bleeding Heart Flower Mean?

This eye catching flower carries meanings like:

  • Expressing your emotions openly
  • A deep and passionate love between two people
  • Spurned or rejected love, especially in the Eastern cultures where the flower originated
  • Being too sensitive or emotionally reactive to the world around you
  • Feeling compassion and unconditional love for everything in creation
  • A connection that goes beyond life and death

While the flower grew wild for thousands of years throughout Asia, it was only developed and bred a few hundred years ago and didn’t arrive in Western culture until the 1800s. This limits the number of potential meanings for the Bleeding Heart, giving it a more focused purpose.


Etymological Meaning of the Bleeding Heart Flower

Along with a literal common name, the Bleeding Heart has quite a descriptive scientific name when you break down the roots behind it. It is best known as Dicentra spectabilis. Dicentra translates to two spurs, which are easy to spot on the flower. Spectabilis is a term that means spectacular and worth looking at, a description that definitely fits the Bleeding Heart.

Symbolism of the Bleeding Heart Flower

The Bleeding Heart is one of the most literal flowers used symbolically today. The blooms resemble a classical cartoon heart with drops of blood falling out of it. Japanese folklore also has a tale about a spurned prince who killed himself by sword when a lovely maiden rejected his gifts, which are all represented by different petals from the flower. In American and British culture, the Bleeding Heart has a passionate meaning and is often exchanged as a symbol of true love. Some religious groups choose to plant the flower as a reminder of compassion for the suffering of others. It can represent people who share their emotions freely and wear their heart on their sleeve too.

Bleeding Heart flower Color Meanings

Most blooms are bright pink or red for a romantic quality. The rarer white Bleeding Heart is considered a symbol of purity and innocence instead, especially to represent beautiful young women who died in a tragic way.


Bleeding heart flowers


Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Bleeding Heart Flower

The flower is rarely used outside of decorative purposes, but some herbalists prescribe a tincture made from the roots to treat difficult nerve pain and overall weakness.

Special occasions for the Bleeding Heart flowers

Celebrate with the Bleeding Heart by:

  • Inserting sprigs of the flower into wedding bouquets and table decorations
  • Exchanging flowers with your spouse or partner on Valentine’s Day
  • Giving a potted plant to a friend after a bad breakup
  • Memorializing a lost loved one with pure white Bleeding Hearts

The Bleeding Heart Flower’s Message Is…

Even sorrow can lead to beauty if you are willing to deal with your emotions. Watch out for scorned love and save your affections for someone who appreciates and returns them instead.

bleeding heart flowers
bleeding heart flowers
bleeding heart flowers
Bleeding Heart Flowers
Bleeding Heart Flowers
Bleeding Heart Flowers
Bleeding Heart Flowers
Bleeding Heart Flowers