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Bleeding heart flowers close up
Old-fashioned and romantic, with arched stems of heart-shaped flowers in spring and summer, the bleeding heart plant is a must for a shady spot in your garden.

What you need to know about the bleeding heart plant

Name: bleeding heart, Lamprocapnos spectabilis syn. Dicentra spectabilis.

Height: up to 1.2m

Foliage: feathery, fern-like bluish-green foliage emerges in spring.

Climate: cold temperate, warm temperate.

Soil: cool, humus-rich, well-drained.

Position: part to full shade.

Flowering: clusters of heart-shaped white, pink or pink and white flowers along thin arched stems in late spring.

Feeding: not a heavy feeder, and should get all the nutrients it needs from the soil.

Watering: water well during warmer months, don’t allow to dry out.

Appearance and characteristics of bleeding heart plant

Bleeding heart is a delicate woodland plant with fern-like foliage with clusters of heart-shaped white, pink or pink and white flowers along arching stems in late spring and summer. This plant dies down in winter and will reshoot in early spring.

Bleeding heart flowers close up

Uses for bleeding heart plant

Bleeding heart is the perfect border plant to brighten up shady spots in your garden, under trees or in pots. It’s also great for cut flowers.

How to plant and grow bleeding heart plant

  1. Choose a shady spot with cool, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
  2. These plants are often purchased as dormant bare-rooted stock in winter, much like roses. Simply plant them with the roots fanned out and pointing down and the crown a couple of centimetres below the soil level.
  3. Water in gently and in spring they’ll send up fresh green shoots.
  4. Make sure you protect the new growth from snails and slugs.

Caring for bleeding heart plant

Keep your bleeding heart plant well-mulched to retain moisture and give it a deep soak weekly when it’s actively growing in spring and summer. Whether it’s in the garden or in a pot, make sure the soil never dries out. If you’ve planted it in the right spot, in soil rich in humus and organic matter, it should have all the food it needs. They’re not particularly hungry plants, but if yours is in a pot you could give it a feed with Seasol or other liquid fertiliser in spring—check out the range in store.

How and when to prune bleeding heart plant

After flowering has finished in summer, let the leaves die back and yellow completely before you cut them back. This will help your bleeding heart store the nutrients it needs to grow strong and produce plenty of flowers next spring.

Diseases and pests

Snails and slugs love these plants, particularly the new shoots in early spring. Protect them with a snail and slug bait such as On Guard Snail Gel.

Bleeding heart propagation

Over time, your plant will develop into large clumps which can be easily divided in winter.

  1. Gently dig the clumps out.
  2. Chop clumps in half vertically with a sharp spade.
  3. Replant the pieces separately.

How to grow bleeding heart from seed

Bleeding heart can be grown from seed by scattering seed directly into the garden in late autumn.

If you like this then try

Hosta: shade-loving foliage plant with heart-shaped leaves in greens, blues, greys and creams. Perfect to plant among bleeding hearts as a cover as they go into dormancy.

Bird’s nest fern: an Australian native fern with bright green fronds shooting from the centre, resembling a bird’s nest. Great for indoors or outside in moist soils with filtered sun.

Bergenia: shade-lover with broad, glossy green leaves producing a mass of pink flowers in spring

Heuchera: fast-growing, compact shade lover with attractive year-round colourful foliage.

Siberian Bugloss: great plant for shady spots, with heart-shaped silver foliage and blue in spring and early summer.

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!

 

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.