What is the Bleeding Heart?

The Bleeding heart is a native plant with its heart-shaped flowers that come in red, pink or white. At the bottom of each flower is a colored “drop” that gave the plant its name.It has fern-like leaves, and the flowers grow on stalks in spring. After flowering, they slowly die back and retire for the  so that by mid summer there’s no sign of your bleeding hearts. 

When can I plant them?

Plant them outdoors when there is no danger of frost. Keep in mind, it’s okay if they get some frost because Bleeding Hearts can take freezing without ill effects, once they are grown.

How do I plant it?

You might want to grow other plants around them because they have a short blooming period. The Bleeding Heart thrives in partial shade and moist soil. Dig a hole with the dimensions of 8-10 inches, and mix in a couple scoops of compost to help the growing process. Fan out the roots in your planting hole and place the crown, (area the leaves will sprout) into the ground. Then refill around the plant with soil; tap down to get rid of any big air pockets. Do not forget to water it well! They need to have moist soil.

If you plant it in a pot then make sure to use moist soil with peat moss, (dead fiber material) and make sure it has a drainage hole. On the other hand, if you want to plant it in a garden, some fertilizer will be enough; make sure to plant them at least 2 feet apart from each other, so they have plenty of room to grow. You can also grow bleeding hearts from seeds, but it will take 6 weeks to three months to germinate, which adds more time to the whole process.

What is the plant like during the different seasons?

They are a tough flower; the Bleeding Heart can survive direct sunlight in the winter as long as they are in a moist soil. During summer, keep them well-shaded and away from the summer sun’s rays. Keep it away from strong winds and winter frosts as much as possible. They die about halfway through the summer and repeat their growing process each year. 

Do I need to prune them?

No, pruning is not necessary because it will bloom again. However, if you would like to prune it, leave the flowers so they can seed. However, you can trim the foliage when you are wanting to tidy it up. Fringed-leaf varieties will eventually start to look rough, and those can be sheared back to their basal growth. Bleeding Hearts last for years; they will become overcrowded and will need dividing every 3-4 years. Transplanting can be done in late autumn or winter. Try to take extra care not to damage their brittle roots. Also, keep the entire root ball intact when transplanting.