Bleeding hearts are shade-loving perennials whose flowers hang downward and resemble hearts with a drop of red or pink blood at the bottom. There is an old-fashioned variety that blooms for approximately four weeks in early spring and grows about 30 inches high. Newer hybrids bloom for most of the growing season in all but the hottest areas, but only grow six to 12 inches high.
Plant bleeding hearts in partial-to-full shade in soil that is rich with organic matter. These plants are ideal for shade gardens.
Improve the soil with the addition of compost and peat moss. Add two inches of compost and two inches of peat moss to the surface of the area where you will plant bleeding hearts. Turn the soil over with a garden shovel to incorporate these soil amendments. Rake the soil smooth.
Dig a hole that is twice as large as the root ball of the bleeding heart plant. Add a tablespoon of granulated fertilizer to the bottom of the planting hole. Scratch it into the soil with your garden claw. Place the root ball of your bleeding heart into the hole. Backfill with soil and gently but firmly with your hands. Plant bleeding hearts six to 12 inches apart.
Water the planting site by hand with a watering can. Check the area daily for seven to 10 days. Water when necessary to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy.
Put down a four-to-six-inch layer of organic mulch to keep the soil evenly moist. Use buckwheat hulls, hay, shredded autumn leaves or shredded bark.
Side-dress the plants every spring with granulated fertilizer. Pull back the mulch and apply granulated fertilizer according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Scratch it into the soil with your garden claw. Replace mulch. Alternatively, you can add an inch of compost to the surface of the soil after pulling back the mulch, then put the mulch back.