Bleeding heart hanging plant - Knowledgebase Question

pittsburgh, pa
Question by lmccaul4
September 2, 2009
I received a beautiful hanging basket which I believe to be a bleeding heart. It has made a beautiful showing from mothers day on. I sat it in a birdbath in part shade, part sun and it has bloomed all summer. It has rosy to purple drooping flowers on it. Is it a perennial? If it is what would be best way to keep it through the winter? Can I just put it in my unheated garage as I did with mums and they went dormant and are blooming beautifully.

Answer from NGA
September 2, 2009


Your bleeding heart (Dicentra) is a perennial plant. It will begin to die down in a few weeks and the roots will go into dormancy. You can store the roots in a cool area (one that remains above freezing) and replant in the spring. Sometime you can simply keep the roots in the container and store the entire container over the winter months. Wait until the tops die down on their own. Then cut them off at soil level. If you leave the roots in the container, the soil should not be allowed to completely dry out, but it should not remain moist, either. Since the roots will be dormant they won't require regular water, but you won't want them to dehydrate and shrivel up, either. If you've been successful overwintering mums, you should be just as successful with your bleeding heart. Treat them all the same and they should be just fine over the winter months.

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