With its unique-shaped flowers and shady foliage, bleeding heart plant can be the main attraction in the flower nursery. If you are planning to grow this plant in your own garden, the following information will tell you more about how to grow bleeding heart and care for it.
About Bleeding Heart Plant
Native to the eastern regions of the United States, bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a popular choice of flowers for a shady garden. This plant gets its name from the heart-shaped flowers that line up on the arching stems. Each flower has a little drop coming out at the bottom, making it looks like a liquid drain. Hence, the common name of the plant is referred to this characteristic.
Bleeding heart flowers generally come in red and pink shades. Although it is less common, you can find a variety of white bleeding heart or black bleeding heart under the specific cultivar named Alba.
During its blooming season in spring and early summer, the plant will welcome you with an attractive combination of pink flowers and light green foliage. Except for the white variety, the colors of bleeding heart flower will turn darker as the plant matures. When the blooming season ends, the bleeding heart will go dormant for the rest of the year before it starts flowering again in the next spring.
Requirements to Grow Bleeding Heart Plant
Bleeding heat plant will thrive better in a certain condition. If you are wondering how to grow bleeding hearts in your own garden, take a look at the following requirements.
Well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter will be the best match for bleeding heart plant. To balance the soil moisture, you can cover the plant with organic mulch during its early stage of growing.
The bleeding heart does not require a lot of light to grow. The best location to plant it is in the shady area of the garden. However, in the regions with a cooler temperature, some varieties of bleeding heart are still able to grow under full sun.
Best Time to Start Planting
The growth of bleeding heart may depend on the location climate. The windy climate is not good for bleeding heart because the wind may damage the plant. For that reason, avoid starting planting in the fall.
The best starting time to plant bleeding heart is in the early summer. Alternatively, you can start earlier by planting it in the spring, so that the plant will fully bloom once the summer comes.
Caring for Bleeding Heart Plant
Bleeding heart plant care does not require much effort. If you have planted it in the soil with enough moisture, frequent watering is not necessary. However, during the spring season, you need to add a layer of organic compost over the soil to keep it fertile.
It is important to note that bleeding heart is a perennial plant that will go dormant in a certain time of the year. Most varieties start going back to the ground in the late summer or early fall, then regrow a new plant in the early spring.
During this period, the foliage of bleeding heart will turn brown or yellow before they wither to the ground. Although it is a natural process to reserve food and nutrients for next year, you can care for it by cutting the yellowing leaves.
Later, when the process is finished completely, remember to mark the spot where the plant grows, so you don’t accidentally replace it with another plant.
Propagating Bleeding Heart Seeds
You can propagate the plant when it starts seeding itself. Bleeding heart seeds should be transplanted into a new planting area or medium so that you can get a new plant for the next growing seasons.
Before transplanting bleeding hearts, the seeds need to be grown in pots. Let the seeds chill for several weeks, and then transplant them into the soil. They will turn into young plants and bear new flowers after a year or so.
In addition to the seeds transplantation, propagating bleeding heartcan be done by dividing the existing plant. This propagation process can be done in spring before a new plant starts to grow, or in the fall when the plant goes dormant.
Additional Advice: Bleeding Heart Placement in the Garden
As mentioned earlier, bleeding heart plant will be a perfect addition to a shady garden. This flowering plant is also good to be planted in a woodland setting near astilbe, ferns, or coral bells. Alternatively, you can match it with several types of wildflowers, such as trilliums or lilies.
If you don’t want the garden looks empty when the bleeding heart stops blooming for a while, plant spreading perennials next to it. Begonias and lungworts are the best choices in this case. When the plant dies temporarily, they will cover and shade around the planting area without damaging the special spot for bleeding heart.
Some Problems with Bleeding Heart Plant
When growing bleeding heart in your garden, be aware of several pests and diseases that are harmful to the plant. Bleeding heart is susceptible to aphids, a kind of insect which attacks the foliages and takes out the plant juices. To deal with this problem, you can wash off the insects using insecticidal soap or spray.
Another problem that you should be aware of is the attack of fungi. Similar to insects, fungi will attack the plant foliages, leaving a white spot on the leaves or making them wilt. Some harmless fungi, such as downy mildew, can be cleaned immediately using a fungicide without damaging the plant.
However, some other diseases caused by fungi are extremely harmful to bleeding heart plant. These include fusarium and vertilissium wilts. Once they attack and damage the plant, there is nothing else you can do. The plant should be destroyed and dig up immediately from the ground. To prevent such treats from happening, you need to provide a good drainage system and air circulation around the planting area of the bleeding heart.
Now that you have basic information regarding bleeding heart plant care guide, you can start including this lovely flowering plant in your shady garden. When you grow the plant in a suitable location and treat it with proper care, the bleeding heart will reward you with the attractive flowers that bloom in spring and summer.