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How to Plant a Bare Root Bleeding Heart

By Barbara Raskauskas ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bleeding Heart is a perennial plant with heart-shaped blooms dangling from gently curved stems. Depending on the variety, the shade loving Bleeding Heart can grow 1-2 feet tall and produce pink, white or red blooms in the spring or summer. Sold potted by local nurseries, if you buy Bleeding Heart through a catalog or online, it will most likely be shipped as a dormant bare root, ready for immediate planting in your area.

Remove the bare root from the nursery’s packing bag, which was most likely shipped in early spring while the bare root was still dormant. The bag will have saw dust, peat moss or other organic material to hold moisture. Gently shake the root to remove the packing material.

Add a few inches of water to a clean bucket or other container. Place the root into the water. Allow the bare root to soak according the nursery’s directions or for about 10 minutes.

Dig the hole for the Bleeding Heart bare root in a partially shaded, well-drained location. The hole needs to be wide and deep enough to accommodate the roots. However, by digging the hole at least 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep, and then refilling it to a size comparable for the bare root, you will be providing the roots with loosened soil for better rooting. Create a cone of soil in the center of the hole with the tip of the cone reaching up to ground level.

Remove the root from the water and examine it for breaks or mold, which should be snipped off.

Place the root on top of the cone so the crown (area above the point where the roots spread) will be just under ground level. Spread the roots out over the cone and back fill the hole, pressing the dirt down firmly in the process.

Apply about 2 inches of mulch and water thoroughly. Continue to water regularly (about every 10 days) if there is no rainfall. If you want to fertilize the bare root Bleeding Heart, use a liquid slow-release fertilizer and do not apply it until the plant starts leafing out or 1 month after planting, whichever is later. Fertilizer earlier can damage the roots.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Garden snippers


  • If you are unable to immediately plant the bare root, first ensure that the packing material is still moist and then place the root in a cool location, away from direct sunlight so it will remain dormant.

About the Author


Barbara Raskauskas's favorite pursuits are home improvement, landscape design, organic gardening and blogging. Her Internet writing appears on SASS Magazine, AT&T and various other websites. Raskauskas is active in the small business she and her husband have owned since 2000 and is a former MS Office instructor.