Bleeding heart (Dicentra) is a spring-blooming perennial with dainty red, pink, or white heart-shaped flowers that dangle from the lacy foliage. A woodland plant, bleeding heart prefers full or partial shade and won't do well in hot, dry climates. If bleeding heart is kept cool and moist, it will bloom beyond spring and well into summer with very little attention. To propagate a bleeding heart plant, take slips, or stem cuttings, in late summer or early fall.
Fill a pot or planting tray with a potting mixture of half peat moss and half perlite. Be sure the pot or tray has drainage holes in the bottom. Moisten the potting mixture and set it aside while you prepare the bleeding heart cutting.
Cut a 4- to 6-inch stem from a healthy bleeding heart plant. Use a sharp knife or pruners to make the cut just below a leaf node, which is where a bud or leaf grows from the stem.
Strip the leaves from the lower half of the bleeding heart stem. Dip the cut end of the stem in powdered rooting hormone.
Plant the stem cutting in the prepared container. Spray the cutting lightly to settle the potting mixture around the stem.
Poke several small holes in a clear plastic bag and place the container in the bag. If necessary, place a few stakes in the soil to keep the plastic off of the cuttings. You can also purchase a plastic cover at a garden center.
Place the container in indirect light. When the cutting shows new growth, tug lightly on the stem to determine if the cutting has rooted. If you feel slight resistance to your tug, it's safe to assume that the cutting has successfully rooted.
Repot each cutting to an individual pot. Place the pot in bright light and keep the soil moist. Allow the bleeding heart to grow until spring, then move it to a permanent outdoor home.
Things You Will Need
- Planting tray
- Peat moss
- Sharp knife or pruners
- Powdered rooting hormone
- Spray bottle
- Clear plastic bag
- Individual planting containers
- Take several cuttings from the bleeding heart plant, as it's likely that not all of the cuttings will successfully root. The cuttings can be planted in the same container, as long as the stems and leaves aren't touching.