Bleeding heart plants are a wonderful addition to the perennial garden. With their extremely distinctive heart-shaped flowers and low maintenance growing needs, these bushes bring a colorful and Old World charm to any garden. But what should you do when temperatures start to drop? Keep reading to learn more about bleeding heart winter care and how to protect a bleeding heart during winter.
How to Protect a Bleeding Heart During Winter
Bleeding heart plants are perennials. Their roots will survive cold winter temperatures, but their foliage and flowers might not. This isn’t usually too much of a problem, as the plants bloom in the spring and early summer, fading and dying back naturally in high summertime. Because of this, bleeding heart winter care technically starts months before the first fall frost.
When the flowers of your bleeding heart plant fade, cut back their stems to an inch or two above ground. Keep watering the foliage. Eventually, the foliage will die back too. This might happen naturally in the summer, or it might happen with the first frost, depending upon how short your summers are. In any event, when this happens, cut the entire plant down to an inch or two above the ground.
Even though the foliage is gone, the underground rhizomes of a bleeding heart plant are alive and well in the winter – they’re just dormant. Bleeding heart winter protection is all about keeping those rhizomatous roots alive.
When the cold temperatures of autumn start to set in, cover the stumps of your plant stems with a thick layer of mulch that spreads out to cover the area. This will help insulate the roots and make winterizing a bleeding heart plant much easier.
This is pretty much all that is required to overwinter a bleeding heart. In late winter or early spring, the plant should start putting up new shoots again.