Gardening with Bleeding Heart

Image Credit: Maja & Marko

You may have heard of the saying about a bleeding heart, but have you ever seen one? The flowers on these plants look like the shape of a Valentine’s heart with a teardrop of blood coming down off the center of it. These blooms space themselves evenly across the underside of their arching stalks. While they do tend to lose their blooms as the heat of the summer comes on, the foliage, if taken care of, will last on into late fall.


The bleeding heart plant is a woodland flower that raises some debate as to if it is strictly a partial shade or shade loving plant. The answer is, “Both.” While most gardeners are likely to plant these flowering jewels under low growing trees, semi-high trunk bushes and in front of ferns, others are taking the leap and showcasing them in their own partial shady spot in the garden.

Usually bleeding heart dies back after blooming, but if budded off before blooms have been on for too long, the foliage can be saved to last through summer. Easy to over water, bleeding hearts are quite precarious to take care of. A humus rich neutral soil will allow this plant much satisfaction wherever you plant it at.

Oddly enough, some gardeners grow this flowering plant mainly for its blue-green foliage since they know how to care for it all season long. With its love of cool weather, Bleeding Heart can be grown just about anywhere in the 48 United States. Check with your garden center to see if your most southern US home can accommodate these shade loving plants.

Propagation of this rhizome should be done in late fall to early winter and immediately replanted, unless you are storing them for the winter. Plant back into the ground in early spring. These plants can grow up to four feet tall. Therefore, make sure you have enough room for your bleeding heart. Planting of seeds should be done in the fall.

This is another poisonous plant. Any pets you may have should be kept away from them. Children should be made aware of this too, as they should not attempt to ingest it. It is an indoor and outdoor plant so be aware of its potential for harm no matter the environment.

This is a great plant to border your fence-less yard with to keep out deer and rabbits. Planting this with Lily of the Valley will make for not only a more secure border, but a pleasing sight, too.

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