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How to Prune Bleeding Hearts

The bleeding heart is a spring-blooming perennial plant that produces branches of heart-shaped hanging flowers. The plant is available in old-fashioned varieties, which grow to a height of 3 to 4 feet, and hybrid varieties, which grow to a height of 12 to 18 inches. Bleeding heart plants respond to drought conditions by dying off early in the summer season. The plant can be pruned at any time after blooming is complete, as the root crown creates energy stores early in the season for winter survival.

Prune to remove flowering branches once the flowers have died off after blooming in spring. Remove the branches at the plant stem by cutting them off with a hand pruning clipper. This will stimulate new bloom growth and extend the flowering season.

Prune foliage branches once they begin to turn yellow in the summer months. Remove the dying branches by cutting them off at the stem with a hand pruning clipper. Water the plant well to keep the foliage green as long as possible.

Prune the bleeding heart plant to the ground once the foliage dies off and turns yellow in color. Remove all remaining plant foliage by cutting it with a hand pruning clipper at ground level. The plant will wilt and collapse to the ground if left to dry on its own. Some varieties will die off during late summer and others not until fall.


The bleeding heart plant should not be ingested as it is a poisonous plant to humans and animals.

Wear gloves when working with the bleeding heart plant as the sap may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some people.

Do not prune the flower branches prior to seed pod production if you want to collect seeds for propagation. Store dried seeds in a paper envelope for planting in late winter.

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