How to Breed Bleeding Hearts


Bleeding hearts are perennial flowers named for their heart-shaped blossoms dangling from arching stems. Depending on the variety, bleeding hearts can reach a height of 1 to 2 feet and prefer part sun to full shade. Keeping the soil moist along with 2 inches of mulch around bleeding hearts can help to keep it blooming longer. The easiest way to breed bleeding heart, or to propagate this perennial, is through division of the rootball in late fall or early spring when the plant is four to 10 years old.


Step 1

Water the bleeding heart the day before you divide it.

Step 2

Dig up the bleeding heart. Use the spade to dig around the plant at the drip line, an imaginary circle around the plant equal to the reach of the foliage. Dig down at least 12 inches to capture as much of the rootball as possible.

Step 3

Remove the rootball from the hole and gently shake the soil from the roots. The center of the rootball, which is the oldest portion of the rootball, should be discarded. Cut the rootball into two or three sections (divisions). Pull off the center portion.


Step 1

Select and prepare holes for the divided rootball. The location should have well-drained soil and can be in part sun or full shade.

Step 2

Dig the hole at least 12 inches deep and across to loosen the soil. Add about 2 inches of organic matter, like compost or leaf mold, to the bottom of the hole.

Step 3

Hold the division over the center of the hole with the crown, where the root meets the stem, at ground level. Backfill the hole.

Step 4

Water and then apply about 2 inches of mulch, like wood chips, around the bleeding heart, keeping the mulch 2 inches from the main stem. Keep the soil moist, which may mean watering weekly if there is no rainfall.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Organic matter
  • Mulch


  • University of Vermont Extension: Caring for Perennials
  • University of Missouri Extension: Home Propagation of Garden and Landscape Plants---Division
  • National Gardening Association: Bleeding Heart Planting Guide
Keywords: bleeding hearts, propagate bleeding heart, perennial

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas is a certified e-learning specialist and certified Microsoft Office specialist. She has written web content, technical documents and course material for a decade. Raskauskas now writes how-to's, product reviews and general topics published on several websites, including Demand Studios.