When Do Bleeding Heart Flowers Bloom?

Growing bleeding hearts in your garden but aren't sure when they bloom? These popular cool-weather perennials have beautiful flowers that grow in the spring. In this article, gardening expert Paige Foley shares when you can expect your bleeding hearts to bloom, as well as how long you can expect them to bloom for.

when do bleeding hearts bloom

Bleeding hearts are a well-known and loved perennial among many gardeners. Their whimsical blooms have captured the hearts of gardeners for generations. They are a great choice for all gardeners, from beginner to experienced.

If you’re eager to experience the most treasured part of this plant, you may be wondering when bleeding hearts bloom and how you can optimize their flowering.

These are fairly low-maintenance perennials as long as they are grown in the right environment. Your hardiness zone and overall climate will play a large part in when and how well your bleeding heart will bloom. Let’s take a deeper look!


The Short Answer

Bleeding hearts are an early bloomer. They bloom at the same time or shortly after tulips in the spring. Your environment is going to play a huge factor in when they will bloom.

These perennials prefer cooler temperatures and little sunlight. If you live in zones 3-5, your bleeding heart may tolerate more sunlight than zones 6-9. This makes them a great option in shady flower beds, under trees or along the base of a building.

Once temperatures become too hot, the blooms and the plant go into dormancy. The plant will cease blooming and the leaves will begin to turn yellow and die. I recommend planting with companion plants such as hostas or ferns, as both will stay green during the dormant phase of mid-summer.

The Long Answer 

Bleeding hearts flowers have pink, heart-shaped petals with white tips that mimic drips of blood. On green stems that arch and rise above the foliage, the blooms are arranged in clusters. Together with other green plants, it is cultivated in the garden.
With its heart-shaped blooms in pink, white, and red, this is a classic cottage garden staple.

Known for its unique heart-shaped blooms, bleeding heart is a classic cottage garden staple that blooms in early spring. The pink, white, and red flowers hang like pendants on arched stems over the foliage.

The plant produces bluish-green foliage in clumps that are 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. It takes 2 to 5 years for a bleeding heart to reach full maturity. 

This is a great plant to grow if you also have curious children who love plants. They will get excited about the heart-shaped flowers and enjoy waiting for them to bloom in the spring.

But be cautious that they do not ingest the plant. If ingested, bleeding heart is poisonous to humans and animals and may cause skin irritations. 

Maximizing Your Blooms 

Close-up of bleeding heart plants with flowers that are pendulous and heart-shaped, with pink, white or red petals that are joined at the base to form a heart. The flower stalks are long, slender, and brown in color. The leaves are delicate, fern-like, and green in color.
They adapt to different environments, such as containers outdoors or indoors as houseplants.

These cool-weather perennials prefer partial to full shade but may tolerate more sun depending on your hardiness zone. They are very versatile and can be grown in containers outdoors, and they can be a houseplant. 

Hardiness Zones 

The gardener is using a small, blue shovel to plant small bleeding heart plants in the brown soil while wearing blue gloves. These plants have few blooms developing in them and have green leaves. Another blue gardening shovel is located on the side of the plant.
They don’t tolerate high temperatures and usually enter dormancy by mid-summer.

Bleeding hearts grow best in zones 3 to 9. They are a winter hardy perennial that can withstand the freezing and snowy conditions in northern regions of the United States. They do not do well in the heat.

Typically by mid-summer, the plant is starting to enter dormancy. Since it cannot handle high temperatures, it’s not recommended to plant outdoors above zone 9

Your hardiness zone will make a difference in sunlight requirements for a bleeding heart. If you live in zones 3 to 5, they can handle more sun. Try to avoid planting in the afternoon sun. Afternoon sunlight is too intense, and temperatures in the afternoon tend to be the highest of the day. 

In Zones 6-9, consider planting in partial to full shade. These zones have more sunlight exposure and higher temperatures which can induce dormancy. If you love bleeding hearts but live in warmer regions above zone 9, consider planting indoors


Close-up of bleeding heart plant with heart-shaped, pendulous, and ranging in hue from pink to white blossoms.  The deeply lobed, fern-like, green leaves are supported by long, arching, fleshy stems from which the blooms emerge. Large gray rocks and a green landscape can be seen in the blurred background.
Choosing the right location with adequate sunlight exposure and soil moisture is crucial.

Mother nature determines the overall production of flowers, but choosing the right location will encourage more blooms during the season. Sunlight exposure and soil moisture are the main factors to consider when planting. 

Choose a location with well-draining, rich soils. If you want maximum bloom production, keep soils well watered. This plant likes consistently moist soils but can also acclimate to drier soils. Avoid soils that can become soggy or dry out for long periods. 

The plant also enjoys some shade. Ideal locations are underneath trees where grass may not grow or alongside buildings that only see morning sunlight. I’ve had this perennial planted at the edge of my yard, right below a line of trees. The trees provide enough shade, and the dead leaves add organic matter and help retain moisture. 

As summer temperatures increase, the plant will begin to go dormant. Don’t panic if you begin to see fewer blooms and yellowing leaves. This is natural; the plant isn’t dying! It will return next spring. If summer temperatures remain cooler than normal, bleeding hearts may bloom longer

Forcing Bleeding Heart Flowers

The pendulous pink and white flowers on bleeding heart plant have a protruding tip and are formed like a heart. Its stems are long and curved, and they are brown. The deeply cut, many lobed, fern-like leaves have a rough surface. They are green in color and are positioned alternately on the stem. Green grassy bushes and a vast grove of tall trees can be seen in the background.
Getting this perennial to bloom more than once per season is possible by using various methods.

This task is tricky, but it can be done in the right environment. Several ways can be used to coax this plant to bloom more than once per season. Let’s consider ways to force a bleeding heart to bloom again. 

Start this plant indoors 6 to 9 weeks before the last frost. This will give them a head start on the season, and they will be ready to bloom when you transplant them outdoors.

Once spring foliage and blooms are spent, cut the yellowing foliage to the ground and apply fertilizer. This may induce another round of blooms before temperatures become too hot.  

Snipping off the flowers just before they fade may trigger another round of blooms if your plant is already growing outdoors when spring arrives. Cutting the blooms allows the plant to focus on bloom production instead of seed production. This is all subject to the summer temperatures, and second blooms may not appear if temperatures are too warm. 

Deadheading may induce a second bloom later in the season. This will only happen if temperatures are cooler in late summer and there isn’t an early frost. Water frequently after cutting to help encourage new growth. Adding fertilizer may also be beneficial. 

Why Aren’t My Bleeding Heart Flowers Blooming? 

A close-up of a bleeding heart plant with tiny pink blooms in the shape of hearts growing and hanging from an arched brown stalk. The young, green leaves are beginning to become finely divided and to resemble ferns.
Changes in soil conditions and temperature can affect bloom production.

If you have just planted bleeding hearts, it is common for them not to bloom the first year. They may need a year or two to acclimate to their new environment. 

Another reason your bleeding heart might not bloom is a change in its environment. If soil conditions are too wet or dry, this can affect bloom production. Sometimes this is controllable, and other times it isn’t. If your region is experiencing dry conditions, consider watering more frequently. 

Heat is another large factor in bloom production. As we stated earlier, they love colder temperatures. If your region is having extra hot temperatures, this will cause the plant to go into dormancy. On the other end of the spectrum, if your region is having below-normal temperatures, they will bloom more frequently and longer. 

Final Thoughts 

There is no doubt that these charming and elegant blooms would make a great addition to any springtime garden or container. An ideal choice in northern regions, bleeding hearts can handle the harsh winters and cool springs.

When it comes to when a bleeding heart will bloom, it’s mostly up to mother nature. Have a little patience, and soon you’ll see beautiful blooms after a bleak winter. Good luck and happy gardening!

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