Bleeding heart plants are well known among the people of Asia by many other names, including- Asian bleeding hearts and lamprocapnos spectabilis (it’s the scientific name of the bleeding-heart plant). It was earlier recognized as Dicentra spectabilis. Gardens and florists find these interesting due to their lovely appearance in white and pink flowers.
Bleeding heart plants are flowering plants, growing suitably in partly shaded regions. Their pink and white flowers of these perennial plants are mainly found in spring. These herbaceous perennials die back every year and preferably grow on moist soils.
The average height and width of the bleeding-heart plants are 120 cm and 45 cm, respectively. They are easy to grow and much comfortable for beginner gardeners.
Bleeding heart plants belong to the kingdom of Plantae and the family of Papaveraceae. This plant was originated in Korea, Siberia, Northern China and Japan. It bears heart-shaped flowers of pink and white colour. They grow trilobed compound leaves and bear flowers during early summer and spring.
The heart-shaped flowers bear colourful, attractive petals. The outer surface of the petals is bright fuchsia-pink, while the colour of the inner surface is white.
What’s so good about bleeding-heart plants?
Gardeners find this cottage garden staple, bleeding heart plant, classic for growing in perennial gardens. This plant is growing importance among gardeners due to its colourful blooms. The colour of the flowers are white or pink, and the shape of the flower is like a heart. These plants generally grow flowers in spring and are mostly inactive during winters.
Bleeding heart plants require shade to grow. A moist and cool climate is ideal—the height on average ranges from 12 inches to 3 feet. The average width of these perennial plants is 1-3 feet.
This spring bloom, fall bloom and summer bloom plant are generally deer resistant. The bleeding heart plants do not require high maintenance costs and are suitable for container gardening.
Growing these plants are effortless and comfortable for beginner gardeners. The leaves of these plants are blue, green or golden. The colour of the flowers ranges from red-white, pink, pink-white and red.
How to grow bleeding heart plants
One can grow them from the seeds, but it would be easy to separate from any other mature plants to grow the bleeding heart seeds and later transplant them. The transplants are also available ready in the market. After purchasing them, plant the seedling between the spring and early summer.
Find a partly shaded area. Keep the soil moist and well-drained. Make a gap of about 1-2 feet between each plant. Bleeding heart plants do not require high maintenance. What they need is well-drained soil rich in humus. Composting the soil in spring adds to the nutrient content of the soil and enriches their fertility.
Deadheading the plants post-flowering keeps them tidy. You must cut back the plants once the yellow foliage appears, keeping the spot of their growth marked so that the spot doesn’t get dug up and demolished.
Bleeding heart plants require very large space, and they extend very wide. Therefore, dividing the plants is necessary to keep them at a limit. Also, the split parts can be planted elsewhere.
Required conditions for growing bleeding heart plants
These plants prefer partly shaded regions for their growth. Planting them near deciduous plants is suitable. These get the shade from the large deciduous trees when the heat of the sun rises. Thus the cool atmosphere is maintained.
The bleeding heart plants prefer no such particular soil. It is well comfortable with average soil having a slightly acidic nature but must be well-drained. There must be an adequate amount of manure added to the soil. Heavy clay in the soil is harmful to the plants to survive.
Bleeding heart plants can tolerate high humidity. The ideal temperature for growth is 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal season to grow is spring. The plant’s yellowing begins once the summer arrives, and then they go dormant. The plants can’t tolerate very high temperatures. It requires a cool and moist surrounding.
Watering the plants is essential during the summer. Remember that the plants should not have their feet wet for a long time as this may rot the roots and stem. The environment must be kept just moist.
Planting a bare-root bleeding heart plant
Bare root bleeding hearts are sold by mail-order catalogues and online nurseries. Spring is the best season to plant these bleeding hearts. Those bleeding hearts which are sold as containers can be planted throughout the year. The bare root bleeding hearts are ideally sold to the customers only at the particular season when growing them gives positive results.
Even if they are purchased too early before the arrival of spring, it is possible to preserve them until the spring arrives. Keep them moist and calm in a refrigerator. Also, you can plant them in pots and later transplant them into the garden when springtime comes.
Find places with a bit of shade to plant a bare root bleeding heart plant. Keep the soil rich in humus. The plants prefer average garden soil. It will work like a charm if the soil is slightly acidic. The plants do not go well with heavy clay or soggy soil and may result in the rotting of the crown and roots.
It is better to soak the bare root bleeding heart plant in water before planting them in soil. It will help the plants in rehydration. Note that the plant does not get soaked for more than four hours. To plant the bare root plant, loosen the soil up to 0.5 metres deep and 0.5 metres wide.
The hole in the ground must be dug wide and deep enough to accommodate the bare root system. Keep the crown slightly above the ground level and keep the root spread out.
While planting, keep the crown above the mould for a bit of height and spread the roots. Then clump the soil together and fill the hole. Try to prevent the entry of air bubbles. Water regularly and fertilize as required.
Growing bleeding heart plants form tubers
Generally, these plants are cut and split in spring or fall to keep them tidy and fresh. The divided parts are used to grown new plants. The rhizomes are used to develop new bleeding heart plants from the split parts. The tubers are also sold during spring by garden centres and box stores.
The rhizomes prefer shaded areas to be planted along with well-drained soil. The moist forestry environment suits them well. Heavy clay or soggy soil is harmful. These types of soil or poor drainage may rot the tubers. Fertilizing the soil regularly also promotes rapid growth.
The purchased tubers of bleeding heart trees need to be adequately examined for their freshness before being planted. While planting, you must remember to plant each tuber with at least one eye. The average depth while planting the tubers must be 1-2 inches, and the average gap between the tubers must be 24-36 inches. After planting, water them regularly to let them grow into a mature plant.
How to care for bleeding heart plants
Wild bleeding heart plants are well known for their inactivity during summer. So these are known as ephemeral plants. You must not worry if you find your plant dormant during the summer. It will get refurbished once the summer spell is over.
Bleeding heart plants always favour a cold environment. Therefore the soil must be watered and kept moist. When you notice the withering and yellowing of leaves, you must cut them back. Remember to mark the spot of their growth after cutting.
While transplanting, you must do it early, as soon as you see them poking out of the first leaf. It generally happens in early spring. Aphids and powdery mildew are remarkable pests that can affect the plant. This can be recovered by shearing back the foliage when affected by the pests.
Suitable companions for bleeding heart plant
These find the most comfortable environment in woodland settings. Trout lilies and trilliums are the suitable companions of the plant. Planting the bleeding hearts near to hosta, astilbe, ferms, coral bells, and other parts of a moist shady environment is beneficial. Bleeding heart perennial companions including lungwort or begonias, which love the shade, stay well together.
Besides adding to the splendour of the garden with their pink-white bleeding heart flower, these are used as pain relievers. It is available as a root tincture and hot compress. Sprains and bruises are also relieveable using these plants. The tinctures also promote the calming actions of our nerves after we get a sudden shock.
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Frequently asked questions
1. Where to plant the bleeding heart plants?
-> It is suitable to grow the plant in partly shaded places. Try planting them near deciduous trees so that the bleeding heart plants can get shade from the sun’s scorching heat. Also, make sure the soil is well-drained for planting the bleeding heart.
2. Do bleeding heart plants come back every year?
-> Being perennials, the rhizomatous roots stay alive all through the winter though the foliage dies. The rhizomatous roots let new plants grow again when spring arrives. As they die back every year, pruning the plants is not necessary.
3. Can bleeding heart plants be grown in pots?
->These plants can be grown in pots, and there is a specific variety of bleeding hearts that is pot-grown. You can plant these all-around year in pots by providing the required environment.
4. How to winterize the bleeding heart plants?
-> Before the first frost, you must start the specialized care of these shrubs. Cut back the stem about 25 cm above the ground when the flower begins fading and then keep watering the foliage.