Bleeding Heart plants are herbaceous perennials named for their heart shaped flowers. These plants are native to Japan and grown widely in gardens across the United States in USDA planting zones 3 through 9. Bleeding Hearts grow best in partial to full shade and are best accompanied by other shade-loving plants, such as hostas or columbines, because the Bleeding Heart will die back in summer, leaving vacant spots in the landscape. These plants are used well for ground covers and as cut flowers.
Choose a location that has partial to full shade. Prepare the flowerbed by getting rid of all the lawn grass and weeds. Place a 2-inch layer of compost over the bed and work it into the soil with a hoe.
Dig holes in the soil 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart for each Bleeding Heart plant you are growing. The holes should only be half as deep as the crown you are planting. Place the eyes on the crown facing up and the top of the crown just above the soil's surface. Pack the soil around the lower half and roots of the crown and then water to settle the soil, thus leaving no air pockets around the roots.
Water thoroughly after planting and irrigate the crowns to keep the soil moist but never soggy. Feel the soil to determine when more water is needed. Shaded soil will not dry out as quickly as soil in the sun. Water more frequently as the flowers start to open; they will last a little longer than if they were on a regular watering schedule.
Spread a 2-inch layer of leaf mulch around the plants. This will help to retain moisture and keep the top of the crowns protected.
Apply a complete fertilizer once you start to notice growth each spring. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how much fertilizer to apply.
Allow the foliage to yellow before cutting it back to the ground. The Bleeding Heart's flowers naturally die back, and the plant goes dormant with the onset of summer heat. Once the foliage is yellow, the crowns have stored up enough nutrients and energy for the next year’s growth.