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How To Trim Bleeding Hearts

wet bleeding heart image by Michael Cornelius from

The delicate heart-shaped flowers of the bleeding heart make it a very attractive and romantic looking plant. Bleeding hearts grow best in cool, moist conditions and generally bloom in the early spring. The flowers can be yellow, pink, red or white. Depending on the variety, a bleeding heart may grow anywhere from 6 inches to 2 feet in height. While bleeding hearts are relatively easy to care for, strategically timed trimmings can help to improve the growth and appearance of these plants.

Watch for yellowing and wilted foliage and trim this back. With common bleeding hearts, this will occur about midsummer. Fringed bleeding hearts will begin to yellow around frost time.

Stimulate the growth of blooms by deadheading the flower. To do this, snip off stems with faded flowers. This technique is especially useful for fringed bleeding hearts which may lose some of their luster around midsummer.

Trim the entire plant back to the ground after the foliage has died. Leave just an inch or two above the soil line. This usually occurs in late fall with the first frost.

Separate bleeding hearts into smaller plants every four or five years. Dig up the entire root system in early spring. Gently pull the plant apart to create clumps approximately 6 inches around. This will prevent large and unwieldy plants and keep your bleeding hearts to a manageable and attractive size.

Type Of Soil Do Bleeding Hearts Like?

Bleeding hearts require loose soil for their tender roots to grow. Bleeding hearts prefer humus-rich soil. Adding organic matter improves the condition of both sandy and clay soil. Although bleeding hearts prefer moist soil, good drainage is a must, because they will not tolerate soggy soil. Soil with adequate amounts of organic matter typically drains well, while retaining some moisture. Avoid planting bleeding hearts in low-lying areas where the soil remains soggy in the spring or drainage may be an issue. Water bleeding hearts deeply to saturate the soil to the root level once or twice a week or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.


Healthy bleeding hearts require very little care and trimming and can generally be left to spread and grow on their own throughout the spring and summer seasons.

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