The scientific name of the bleeding heart plant is Lamprocapnos spectabilis and the plant is one of the first in spring to burst into life, serving as a much-needed sign that warmer weather will soon arrive. The plant actually has attractive bluish-green foliage that emerges first as the plant wakes from dormancy. After the plant adorn the garden with attention-getting, heart-shaped flowers borne on arching stems. The flowers of the bleeding heart may be pink and white or solid white, as with the bleeding heart cultivar “Alba.” Continue reading to learn more about bleeding heart care.


Bleeding Heart Plants Info

The botanical name:  The botanical name is Lamprocapnos spectabilis (formerly Dicentra spectabilis, Fumaria spectabilis)

The height: The height is about 24-36 inches (61-91 cm)

 Spread: The plant spread about 12-24 inches (30-61 cm)

The sun exposure: The plant prefers part to full shade

The soil requirements: The plant prefers slight acidic to neutral

USDA Hardiness zones: 3-9

When to plant:  Fall, Early Spring.


Where and When to Plant Bleeding Heart Flowers

The bleeding heart plants are most commonly found throughout woodlands, forests, and other shaded areas. In the home garden the bleeding heart plants will thrive in growing beds that receive partial shade or dappled light throughout the majority of the day. The bleeding heart plants are cool-season flower and they are best planted when temperatures are mild. Planting bleeding heart flowers in the fall is often the most popular choice, as this allows for a prolonged period of establishment before the arrival of colder winter weather. The bleeding heart flowers may also be planted in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. Regardless of when you plant the bleeding heart flowers, make sure you work compost or other organic matter into the area first.


Growing Bleeding Heart Flowers

A lot of gardeners are surprised that growing bleeding hearts is so simple. Once you are aware of how to grow the bleeding heart flowers, you may want to use them to brighten dark and shady areas.

Soil requirement: The bleeding heart plants will perform best in well-draining, rich soil. Although the plants are able to adapt to a range of soil conditions, most experienced growers suggest soil which are neutral or only slightly acidic.

 Fertilizer requirement: Caring for bleeding heart plants include annual feeding. When the foliage actually emerges in spring, time-release plant food can be worked into the soil around the bleeding heart plants, as may additional compost. Early feeding of the plant will help in the production of flowers, as well as the continued development of a healthy root system.

Light and water requirements: The bleeding heart plants need a cool, shady area for optimum bloom in warmer southern zones, but farther north this specimen may bloom in a full sun location. You can apply a hefty amount of organic mulch in other to keep the plants cool throughout the growing season. Consistent moisture will also help to maintain the appearance of the bleeding heart plant’s flowers and foliage. This is especially true throughout the warmest months of summer. Though supplemental irrigation will likely be necessary in order to keep the bleeding heart plants looking their best, you should still make sure to avoid overwatering or planting in beds with poor drainage. Excessively wet or waterlogged soils can be quite problematic, and may even lead to the loss of plants.  

Pruning: Actually, pruning to maintain the size and structure of the plants is seldom required. However, a lot of growers do choose to remove foliage after it has started to yellow and die back in late spring or early summer. At this time, the bleeding heart plant will have completed its cycle of growth for the season. Yellow or wilted stems can be trimmed back to the ground with the use of pruners or garden secateurs. Don’t remove the foliage before it turns yellow or brown — even though the flowers are gone, your bleeding heart plant’s leaves are storing food for next year’s growth. To better prevent the spread of disease among plants, all garden debris should be promptly removed from the growing space.

Propagation: Self-sown seeds of the bleeding heart may add more plants to the garden, but the surest method of propagation is to divide clumps every few years. Carefully dig up the roots of the bleeding heart, remove roots that are dried up, and divide the rest. Plant these into other areas of the garden for an early spring show.

Pests and disease control: Issues related to soil moisture are among the most common problems with bleeding hearts. Excess moisture, specifically in winter, will often cause the plants to rot. During periods of active growth, drought-like or dry conditions may also lead to the loss of plants. As all parts of the plant are toxic, bleeding hearts are seldom bothered by browsing animals like deer or rabbit. Gardeners often find that other types of pests, such as aphids or slugs, may still frequent their growing beds.


 Bleeding Heart Plant Care

Once the plant is established, the plants are relatively carefree. Though the bleeding hearts plant is known for its perseverance, it may die back to the ground in regions which experience especially hot summer temperatures. This process is natural, and should not cause alarm for growers. Gardeners can expect the plants to remain dormant until the following spring, when growth will resume. It is for this reason that bleeding heart plants are often considered to be a good choice for established shade gardens, rather than mass or focal plantings.

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