Common bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) is a spring-blooming herbaceous perennial that forms arching stems from rhizomatous roots. The plant is a fast grower that typically reaches 2 to 3 feet tall within around 60 days. Although it flourishes best outdoors, you can keep a bleeding heart plant indoors as well.
Bleeding heart flowers are small and heart-shaped in pink or white. And bleeding heart leaves are typically green and grow in a basal rosette. There are some bleeding heart plant varieties that slightly differ in appearance, including Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Gold Heart', which features golden foliage.
Especially if you plan to grow bleeding heart indoors, it's important to note that the plant contains isoquinoline alkaloids, which can be toxic to humans and pets.
|Common Name||Common bleeding heart, bleeding heart|
|Botanical Name||Lamprocapnos spectabilis (formerly Dicentra spectabilis)|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous, perennial|
|Toxicity||Toxic to people, toxic to pets|
Can You Grow Bleeding Heart Inside?
You can grow bleeding heart indoors and often with great success and ease, though the plant will likely grow faster and larger under optimal outdoor conditions. The bleeding heart plant likes partial to full shade, so you won't need to be overly concerned about your windows providing direct sun. And bleeding heart can do well in pots, as long as you use a quality potting mix and correctly sized container.
Overall, it will take up a moderate amount of space for a houseplant, growing somewhere between 1 and 3 feet tall and wide. The best place to plant a bleeding heart indoors is actually slightly away from a window, so it doesn't receive harsh direct light that could cause scorch and create too much heat.
How to Grow Bleeding Heart Indoors
Grow bleeding heart in partial shade to full shade. Around two to six hours of sunlight per day is ideal, though the plant must be protected from strong afternoon sun. A window that gets bright, indirect sun indoors is typically best.
Temperature and Humidity
Bleeding heart likes relatively cool conditions and can tolerate a range of humidity levels. The ideal growing temperature is around 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that are too hot can result in reduced flowering. So make sure your plant isn't by a hot window or directly in line with a heating vent.
Water regularly to keep the soil lightly moist. But avoid hitting bleeding heart leaves with water, as this can promote fungal disease. Bleeding heart needs roughly an 1 inch of water per week. Never allow the pot to become waterlogged, which can lead to root rot.
Feed each month with a slow-release all-purpose granular fertilizer mixed into the soil around the base of the plant, following product instructions.
Pruning and Maintenance
No pruning is required for common bleeding heart, though you can cut back dying foliage for a better appearance. When stems die, cut them down as close to the base as possible.
Container and Size
For your bleeding heart to do well in a pot, start with a container that's at least 12 inches wide and deep. The plant needs room for its growing roots. It should do fine in your choice of container material as long as there are sufficient drainage holes.
Potting Soil and Drainage
A well-draining potting mix with a high level of organic humus is best for this plant. The soil should have a slightly acidic to neutral pH. It's ideal to mix compost or peat moss into the soil before planting.
Potting and Repotting Bleeding Heart
Only add one plant per pot to allow your bleeding heart plenty of room to grow. As long as you start with a large pot, bleeding heart can grow for around four years before it will need repotting. Signs that a plant is root-bound include roots popping up out of the soil and growing down out of the drainage holes.
When repotting, select a larger container that allows for 2 to 3 inches of growing room around the root ball. Position the plant at the same depth it was previously growing, and fill around the root ball with fresh potting mix.
Moving Bleeding Heart Outdoors for the Summer
Bleeding heart can easily move outdoors during the warmer months. Keep in mind, however, that the optimum growing temperature is around 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This means springtime might be great for moving bleeding heart outside, depending on where you live. But the summer months might be too warm and cause your plant to go dormant.
Be sure your bleeding heart plant only receives filtered sun to shade outdoors, never direct light. And watch that it doesn't become waterlogged during rainy weather. Also, monitor not only daytime heat but also nighttime temperatures to ensure that it won't be too hot or cold for your plant.
When to Bring Bleeding Heart Back Inside
Once temperatures are climbing beyond the mid-70s or dropping below the mid-50s, it's time to bring your plant back inside. First, though, make sure it is free of garden pests. Check the undersides of leaves and the soil for any visible insects. Then, simply place it where it was previously living indoors.
Is it easy to propagate common bleeding heart?
To propagate, dig up the roots in the early spring, and divide them into pieces. Discard any dried pieces, and then replant the segments.
How do you force common bleeding heart to bloom indoors?
It should bloom easily in the right conditions, including indirect sunlight and good humidity levels during the winter season. Keep in mind the life cycle of common bleeding heart means it will go dormant during cooler weather.
Lamprocapnos spectabilis. NC State Extension.
Bleeding Hearts. Pet Poison Helpline.