If your shady flower garden contains a bleeding heart that is growing past its boundaries, divide the bleeding heart in the early spring before it begins to bloom. Because bleeding heart enters a dormancy phase over the summer after it finishes blooming in the spring, waiting until the autumn to divide it (as is common practice with many perennials) will not work well. Use care as you handle the brittle roots of the bleeding heart to avoid damaging them as you divide the plant.
Remove the bleeding heart plant from the soil as early as possible in the spring. Use the shovel to loosen the soil carefully around the roots until you can dig under the roots with the shovel and lift the entire plant from the soil.
Pull the root system apart gently with your fingers, separating the roots into 6-inch clumps. Try to divide one large plant evenly into as many clumps that are approximately the same size. Use extreme caution as you handle the roots to avoid breaking them because they are often very brittle. If you see roots that appear old and decayed, pull these portions away from the root clumps and discard.
Prepare new planting holes for the divided bleeding heart. Space the holes between 6 and 24 inches apart and make the holes deep enough to plant the smaller bleeding hearts at the same depth as they were previously growing.
Place the divided bleeding hearts into the prepared holes and fill soil in around the roots carefully. Tamp down the soil firmly with your hands to finish transplanting the bleeding hearts.
Provide a thorough watering for the newly divided and transplanted bleeding hearts. Keep the plants evenly watered while the plants acclimate to the division (approximately one month).
Things You Will Need
- Gardening gloves
- Bleeding heart plant