The spectacular bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis; originally Dicentra spectabilis) is named by its single pendulous, pillow-like blossom. Plants that like the shade and bloom in the early spring are known as bleeding hearts. In spite of the fact that they remain in bloom for several weeks, the plants often turn transitory and disappear for the remainder of the summer if exposed to excessive sunlight or heat. The plant’s roots are still alive, and it will re-grow in the fall or spring of the next year. Bleeding heart fringed-leaf types provide recurrent blooms all year long.
Other species of the Dicentra genus known as “bleeding hearts” are mainly wildflowers that aren’t usually planted in the garden, but there are many others. It takes roughly 60 days for bleeding hearts to mature to their full size. Toxic to both humans and animals, this plant1.
Bleeding Heart Care
Bleeding heart plants develop about 20 tiny flowers on their stalks throughout the spring of a typical year. As a result of this plant’s heat sensitivity, it’s more difficult to grow new plants in warmer zones than it is in cooler ones. As a result, the blossoms are delicate and vulnerable to wind damage.
Bleeding hearts bloom around the same time as pulmonaria, brunnera, and hellebores, all of which create a charming forest cottage atmosphere when they are in bloom together. For a few weeks after blossoming, bleeding hearts will continue to bloom, but their foliage tends to decline. If you don’t cut them back, they’ll self-seed. Prepare late-emerging plants to fill in the space left vacant if your bleeding hearts become dormant and disappear. Hosta, monkshood, coral bells, ferns, foam flowers, and ferns are all ideal companions for the coral bell.
Although aphids and powdery mildew are occasionally a concern, bleeding heart is a generally low-maintenance plant. You can simply shear back any foliage that has been afflicted by leaf spots. It is possible for bleeding hearts to suffer root rot if they are placed in heavy, wet soil for an extended period of time.
Bleeding hearts prefer partial shade. Planting it beside a deciduous tree is a wonderful idea because it blooms so early. The plant will begin to grow before the tree does, and the tree will shield the bleeding heart from the sun when it needs it.
Bleeding heart prefers a moist, humus-rich soil with plenty of organic matter, but it doesn’t care too much about the pH. Because of its acidic taste, it does best in soil that is slightly alkaline, although even neutral will work. Overtop the existing soil, apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure. Improve the soil’s aeration by incorporating it into the topsoil and breaking up the compacted soil. Ideally, it prefers a well-draining soil that prevents the roots from becoming wet and rotting.
During the hotter months of the year, make sure to keep plants well-watered. They need around an inch of water each week, which can be obtained by rainfall or by watering them manually. Make sure they get another inch of water this week if they are planted near a thirsty tree or bush. In the event that your plants are dormant until the fall or spring, be sure to note the site so that you do not unintentionally dig in the region. In addition, even if the spot is deserted, water the bleeding heart’s roots to keep them nourished. Drought-tolerant as bleeding heart is, it is still advisable to treat them as wild plants and maintain a moist (but not overly so) habitat for them.
Temperature and Humidity
When the summer heat rises, bleeding heart plants turn yellow. As a sign of preparing for the colder months, this plant’s leaves are turning yellow. Tolerates high humidity and prefers temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilizing bleeding heart plants is dependant on your soil’s quality because they are not heavy feeders. You won’t need to feed your plants at all if you have rich, organic soil that is continually adjusted. Bleeding hearts are forest plants that thrive when given a generous helping of leaf mold on top of their soil.
Types of Bleeding Heart
Lamprocapnos spectabilis cultivars are also closely related to certain other popular species with comparable growing properties, such as:
- Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ is a long-time favorite of gardeners because of its white blossoms.
- Gold Heart: a pink-flowered cultivar of L. spectabilis with yellow-gold leaves.
- Cherry-red flowers with white tips adorn L. spectabilis ‘Valentine,’ which has burgundy stalks.
- Feminine, fern-like foliage covers this native American perennial that blooms repeatedly throughout the summer. Its pink variety, ‘Zestful,’ is particularly well-known for its showy blooms.
- Bleeding heart-like D. cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches) has tiny white pantaloon-like flowers.
Since this plant may rebloom later in the season, no pruning or deadheading is necessary. Allowing the blossoms to remain is the best way to ensure that they set seed. When the foliage begins to brown and seem unattractive, cut it back. There are certain fringed-leaf kinds that can be cut back to the base of their stems and re-leaf and re-bloom.
Propagating Bleeding Heart
Bleeding heart can be grown from seeds, clump division, or stem cuttings, but it is most commonly grown from nursery seedlings. Spring to early summer is the greatest time to propagate plants from cuttings. Sow seeds in the fall if you’re starting from scratch in the garden. Older plants that have fewer flowers can be revived by propagation. Bleeding hearts can be spread in the following ways:
Dividing the root clumps of bleeding heart plants is a simple method of propagation. Divide only after the flowers have finished blooming in order to preserve the quality of the cut flowers. In the spring, the fringed-leaf cultivars are easy to divide.
- You’ll need a shovel or trowel if the plant is already in the ground. A sterile, sharp knife and a level table are also required. You’ll need a pot and potting soil if you wish to grow your plants in a container.
- In order to remove the root ball, first make an indentation in the ground around the crown of the roots. The roots spread out in all directions. When it comes to slicing through the roots, don’t be alarmed.
- Look at the top of the root. Look for pink growing buds. Cut the root ball in half, leaving at least one bud in each sectioned area (two to three buds per section is better).
- Compost, leaf mold, or decomposing leaves can be added to the potting mix before replanting the root ball. Make sure the soil is well-moisturized, but don’t over-water it.
Cuttings rooted in a growth media can also be used to propagate bleeding heart. Rooting might take anything from ten days to three weeks.
- To take a 3- to 5-inch clipping from a healthy bleeding heart plant, you’ll need sterilized pruners. Additionally, you’ll need a container, well-drained potting soil, and a plastic bag. Rooting hormones can be used as an additional aid in the process of rooting.
- Remove the lower half of the stem’s leaves. Poke a hole in the soil with your finger in the center of the container after adding the potting soil. Make a small hole in the soil and insert the cut end of the cutting. Gently yet firmly cover the stem in potting mix.
- The soil should be damp, but not soggy, at all times. Wrap the cutting in a clear plastic bag, but not directly on the plant. if you notice condensation forming inside of the bag, puncture a small hole in the plastic.
- Direct sunlight is not ideal for the plant. A plant placed on a sunny windowsill can suffer from sunburn.
- The plant has successfully rooted when fresh growth appears. To remove the plastic bag, simply pull it out.
- Once the bleeding heart plant has established itself and fresh growth is profuse, it is time to transplant it outside. To prepare them for their permanent outdoor location, give the plants a few days of hardening off in a sheltered location.
How to Grow Bleeding Hearts From Seed
Sow seeds in soil in a pot to get them started inside. Freeze the pot for six to eight weeks in a plastic bag. Begin by removing the pot and gradually reintroducing the plant to bright light and warmer temperatures. The seeds’ ability to germinate and grow will be aided by a rise in temperature and direct sunlight exposure. In the garden, bleeding hearts can self-seed, but they do it in a non-invasive manner. The seedlings can be delicately pulled up and transferred.
Potting and Repotting Bleeding Hearts
Bleeding hearts thrive in containers, but only under the ideal conditions. Choose a large pot, at least a 12-inch one, for repotting. They have the potential to develop into a large plant, with a height of over three feet. Before being divided and replanted, a bleeding heart can live in a large container for up to four years. Use enriched potting soil that drains well. You can use ceramic or plastic pots, but make sure they have enough drainage holes so that the roots don’t sit in waterlogged soil.
You’ll need at least 2 to 3 inches of area around the root ball and below when you repot it. Fill the pot with fresh soil to a depth of at least two inches. Place the root ball in the middle of the soil and fill in the rest of its perimeter. It is best to keep the plant in an area that is partially or completely shaded.
During the winter months, a person’s heartbeat naturally slows down. Even if the plant looks to have died above ground, the rhizome or root ball will survive the severe winter. It is possible to trim the stems to a depth of one to two inches. Keep the soil moist until the first frost. Mulch the plant stems with a two-inch layer at the start of the winter season to protect the roots and help them retain moisture. It is time to remove the mulch at the end of the winter.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
Aphids, scales, slugs, and snails are the plant’s most common pests. Aphids and scale can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil, both of which are non-toxic and easy to apply. In order to get rid of slugs and snails, you should pick them up and put them in a bucket of soapy water. They are most easily found at night or early in the morning.
Bleeding hearts are susceptible to fungal illnesses that are widespread in shady areas, such as root rot, powdery mildew, and leaf spot. In most circumstances, a fungicide can be applied to a plant by following the directions on the label. There is a good chance the plant is rotting and spreading its stench to other plants nearby. Pulling up the plant is the best option. Sterilize and discard the soil if the plant is housed in a plastic container. fungicides might be applied to the affected area in your yard or garden if the rot developed.
Irrigate your plant’s soil to keep it free of fungal problems in the future (not the plant itself). In gloomy locations, the plant’s foliage may become infected with fungus if there is an abundance of moisture.
How to Get Bleeding Hearts to Bloom
In the spring, bleeding hearts normally bloom and continue to bloom into the summer, until it becomes too hot for them to bloom anymore. Temperatures that are too high cause the plant to go into hibernation and eventually die. It’s possible that this plant will not flower in its first growing season, as it needs time to establish itself. There may be a problem with the plant if it is not flowering.
You can promote new growth in the plant by cutting the plant down to one inch of the ground surface. It could restart the plant’s growth. You can apply fertilizer to the plant once a month. This plant thrives in soil that is rich and damp, but not so wet that it becomes a swamp.. Take care to keep the plant out of direct sunshine; the blossoms can’t handle it.
Common Problems With Bleeding Hearts
Shady areas are ideal for the growth of bleeding hearts. When it comes to fungus and fungal disease, shade-loving plants can be particularly vulnerable. Watering, insect activity, or fungus are the most likely causes of most of the problems your plant will encounter.
Powdery Patches on Its Foliage
Powdery mildew, a manageable disease if treated quickly, can cause black, gray, white, or pink spots on its leaves. As a result, its growth is stifled and its appearance is unappealing. There is no need to worry about the fungus. If you want to avoid this, make sure to water the soil, not the leaves, and keep the plants well-aerated and not too crowded.
Brown or Black Spots on the Leaves
To diagnose fungal leaf spot, look for small brown or black spots that get larger and have yellow rings around them. The core of these rings is likely to begin to decompose due to rot. If the fungus is discovered early enough, it may be treated with a fungicide or a baking soda solution. The plant will perish as the disease spreads, and the leaves will fall off.
It is natural for bleeding hearts to turn yellow and eventually die when the temperature rises significantly. It’s pointless to do anything if that’s the case Dormancy, the plant’s natural growth cycle, is about to begin. In addition, excessive water, alkaline soil, or excessive sunlight can all cause yellowing of the leaves. Make the necessary alterations to those circumstances.
Aphids can also be found on the plant, so check it out. Because aphids feed on plant sap, they can cause leaf drop and even the death of plants. The emergence of a fungal disease can also be signaled by a change in coloration. Verticillium and fusarium are both serious fungal infections that begin with yellowing of the skin and progress to more serious infections. If your plant is infected with this illness, it should be destroyed as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading.
Browning, Blackening, or Rapid Wilting of the Plant
When a plant is infected with diseases like verticillium wilt, fusarium, botrytis, and root rot, it will swiftly die out. To begin with, you’ll notice wilting, which can progress to total browning or the beginnings of decay. In the event of botrytis, the plant will look like it is being overrun by a gray mold. As soon as your plant starts becoming brown or black due to fungal infection, it’s probably too late. Fungicides can sometimes revive dead plants, however this isn’t always the case. Before using the pot again, remove all of the soil and trash it. Before disposing the plant, either burn it or seal it in a plastic bag.
Is It Better to Use Root Cuttings or Seeds?
In the event that you know someone who has an attractive perennial bleeding heart plant and is willing to share some root cuttings; or in the event that you already have a bleeding heart plant and are looking to expand your collection, you may be a lucky person.
Don’t worry if you have to buy new seeds, because either method will work just fine—the only difference is that one method is a little faster than the other. Plan ahead of time because these deer-resistant plants can grow to a height of nearly three feet.
Bleeding hearts are also hardy in growth zones 3-9, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
When it comes to arranging these beautiful, romantic flowers, this article is going to provide you with some excellent advice, but you should be aware that they don’t stay long—they begin blooming in the spring and by mid-summer, they’re done blooming… Afterward, the plant fades back to the ground, leaving behind a seed pod full of spherical, black seeds that can mysteriously sprout fresh blossoms in the spring of the next year. This is how it continues…
These Are the Things You Will Need
- Tiny pots (about 4 inches in diameter)
- Crushed stone
- Potting soil made of Miracle-Gro
- Compost from the peatland process (peat in granulated or crumb form)
- A trowel used in the garden
- A little container of spray
- Using a good utility knife
- Some pots that are around 6 inches in diameter are available.
- A mat for propagation (suggested for best results)
Tips for Propagating Using Root Cuttings
- After the blooms have gone in the early summer, the best time to cultivate a bleeding heart from a root cutting is. Make sure to water your plant well the night before you collect the root divisions so that the plant is properly hydrated before you begin the process.
- To make a tiny (4-inch) pot, combine one part milled peat with three parts coarse sand. Fill the bottom of the pot with this mixture. Drain the mixture through the pot’s openings until it is completely saturated.
- A spray bottle of water can be used to eliminate dirt from around the base of the stem, which will let you see the roots more clearly.
- You can use a clean utility knife to snip the root cutting and leave at least two nodes (eyes) before thoroughly rinsing it off.
- It is not necessary to bury the cutting; instead, set it on top of the sand mixture and cover it fully with sand that is no more than an inch thick.
- Place the pot in a shady spot of your yard out of the way of strong winds or direct sunlight, and water until it is just barely moist.
- To prevent the sand from being too wet, water only until the top inch or so feels dry.
- Be patient; it will all work out in the end. Maintaining a shady and out of direct sunlight environment can help it develop more quickly, but it may take up to six weeks before you see any visible top growth. Putting it in bright light will help it grow faster, but avoid direct sunlight.
- Transplant your bleeding heart into a slightly larger pot filled with potting soil about 4-6 weeks after you observe new growth, then let it develop in the shade for the duration of the summer.
- Early autumn is the ideal time to move your bleeding heart into its permanent location (a garden bed or a larger container) (September through November in the Northern hemisphere; March through May in the Southern hemisphere).
Tips for Growing Bleeding Hearts From Seeds
In the early winter, you can grow bleeding heart plants from seed, and the following information will assist your seeds have the highest chance of maturing into stunning flowers.
7 Best Perennials to Plant in a Shade Garden
- Small pots of coarse sand and milled peat should be moistened with water.
- A half-inch-deep hole for each seed is all that is required for planting. When planting, put only one seed in a hole and cover it with loose peat that has been slightly wet. Make the peat a little more solid by pressing it.
- Take plastic wrap from the kitchen and cover all of your pots in it, then put them in the freezer for around six weeks.
- Once the pots have been removed from the freezer, I recommend placing them in a propagation mat at a temperature of 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit near a sunny window.
- The plant can be watered when the soil is just slightly moist at the top. Keep it moist, but not soggy, at all times (seeds can mildew if they get soggy).
- The bleeding heart plant’s germination time is variable, but it’s often between two and six months. The weaker plants should be weeded out, and one should remain in each pot.
- Wait until the last frost has passed before moving the plants outside.
- For the first year, move your plants into larger pots with potting soil and cultivate them in light shade. Once your plants have some adult leaves, you can transplant them.
- Early fall is a good time to transplant them into larger containers, or a shady garden bed, if the soil feels just moist at the top. Excessive heat or sunlight will make your blooms short-lived (ephemeral), but they won’t die; they will simply go dormant.
Hopefully, these tips will help you grow some stunning bleeding hearts, and I wish you the best of luck with these lovely shade-loving plants.
Generally speaking, if the conditions are right—acidic soil and a damp but not soggy, shady location—this plant will thrive and be relatively easy to maintain. Self-seeding and easy to propagate.
If you’re looking for a perennial plant native to Asia, go no further than bleeding heart bush (Lamprocapnos spectabilis). Clerodendrum thomsoniae, or tropical bleeding heart, is a distinct species that hails from Africa and differs greatly in appearance, growth circumstances, and hardiness from the common bleeding heart vine.
The temperature of 65 F is optimum for the growth and flowering of bleeding hearts, therefore they can be grown indoors. Six to eight weeks of stratification or freezing in the freezer is required for the seeds of bleeding heart to think it’s winter. The seeds will germinate once they’ve been brought to room temperature. In addition to humus-rich, wet, well-draining soil, a neutral or slightly acidic pH, and partial sunlight.