The Q&A Archives: Transplanting/Dividing Bleeding Heart

Question: I have two bleeding hearts that I am trying to dig up to transplant and/or divide. I am having trouble finding the end of the root system. How deep do they run and how far out from the bush? How do I divide them without damaging roots beyond repair? I am very new to gardening.

Answer: Dicentra (bleeding hearts) have very brittle roots and are best left in place, where they will quietly grow larger and more gorgeous. If you must dig and transplant, do so with care, or they will ?sulk? and take several seasons before flowering again. The official method is to insert two forks at the edges of the plant and ?tease? it apart. However this requires that you own two forks, and most gardeners resort to the crude but tried and true, and quicker method of chopping the plant into divisions with a spade. As long as you have the majority of the root system, don't worry about trying to get every last root out.

Best wishes with your bleeding hearts.

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