Bleeding Heart | Almanac.com

Bleeding Heart

Botanical Name
Dicentra spp.
Plant Type
Sun Exposure
Soil pH
Bloom Time
Flower Color
Hardiness Zone
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How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Bleeding Heart Flowers

The Editors
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The old-fashioned bleeding heart is a favorite perennial of the shady flower garden and was called the finest hardy plant of the 19th century. Here’s how to plant and grow bleeding heart flowers in your garden!

Even today, nothing surpasses its graceful, arching, 3-foot stems adorned with its flowers of dangling pink (or white) hearts in early spring. The plant is also known as lady’s locket, lady’s heart, and lyre flower.


Planting Bleeding Hearts

  • Plant in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. (See local frost dates.)
  • Plant in the shade.
  • Add compost to the soil before planting.
  • Soak the soil around the plant until moist.
  • Add mulch to keep moisture in and weeds out.



How to Care for Bleeding Hearts

  • Keep soil moist.
  • Bleeding heart blooms in the spring and finishes its growing cycle when warm weather sets in. The flowers fade and the leaves die back. The plant goes dormant in late spring or early summer.
  • Cut back the leaves and stems when they begin to yellow and wither away.
  • Plant shade-loving annuals, like begonias or impatiens, in the garden space where the bleeding heart grew.
  • Bleeding heart does not like being moved. It will thrive for years without being divided or replanted.
  • If you need to transplant, do it as early as possible, as soon as you see the first leaves poking out in early spring.


Wit and Wisdom
  • Bleeding heart is resistant to deer and rabbits.
  • Dicentra spectabilis is native to northeastern China, Japan, and Korea.
  • The bleeding heart is perfect as a pressed flower. Pick flowers early in the morning after the dew has dried. Put the flowers between paper and place between the pages of a thick book.  After a couple of weeks you’ll have perfect flat, papery hearts.
  • See more plants that thrive in the shade!