The Q&A Archives: Growing Bleeding Heart In A Container

Question: We are moving on Oct. 1. I have a bleeding heart plant that is approx. 3 years old. At its peak it grows about 3 1/2 ft high. I would like to take it with us and am wondering if I can dig it up and put it in a container. We will be renting an apartment and will be on the move the next few years and would like to move it with us in the container.
Is this possible? Can I dig it up in late Sept. without hurting it? Would it survive in a container?

Answer: An established Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a lovely thing so I can understand why you want to take it with you. However, to be honest, I think you would risk killing it. A plant that size requires a very large pot to accommodate the entire root system without cramping and needs periodic repotting in order to replenish the soil and avoid becoming rootbound. You would also need to provide it with a simulated climate environment so that it could grow and go dormant according to its natural schedule. Finally, hardy plants grown in containers rarely thrive as well as they do in the ground; over time the accumulated stresses take their toll. Unfortunately, in practical terms I think the odds of keeping it healthy over several years of moves would be almost impossible.

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