How to Grow Bleeding Heart


Bleeding heart, named for its resemblance to pale pink hearts, grows profusely in the damp woodlands and meadows of the Pacific Northwest. The delicate blooms rise above the foliage, which has a lacy, somewhat fern-like appearance. The plant produces blooms from the middle of spring to the middle of summer and will turn brown if it's exposed to too much sunlight or heat. Bleeding heart dies in the cold of winter, but returns in all its glory with the arrival of spring.

Step 1

Acquire some bleeding heart starts at your nursery or garden center. Although it's possible to grow bleeding heart from seeds, the chances of success are much higher if you start with seedlings or root stock.

Step 2

Choose a shady spot for the bleeding heart. Sun should be limited to morning sun unless you live in a very cool climate. In the wild, bleeding heart grows in very dense shade or areas that receive sunlight filtered through the trees.

Step 3

Work about 3 inches of mulch, peat moss or compost into the top of the soil and remove any rocks. Dig a hole large enough to allow the top of the roots to be at ground level, plant the bleeding heart and tamp the soil lightly around the plant. Cover the area with mulch or peat moss to help hold the moisture.

Step 4

Fertilize the bleeding heart with a water soluble solution every other week. You can also feed it a slow- acting, timed-release fertilizer once early in the growing season. Refer to the manufacturer's label for specific instructions. Keep the soil moist at all times, but don't allow it to become waterlogged.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleeding heart seedings or root stock
  • Mulch, peat moss or compost


  • Planting Bleeding Heart
  • My Bleeding Heart-Dicentra
  • Dicentra
Keywords: bleeding heart, pacific northwest, shade

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a longtime writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the "East-Oregonian Newspaper" and "See Jane Run" magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.