How to prepare bleeding hearts for winter


How to prepare bleeding hearts for winter? is the next gardening guide we are going to consider in this article

Bleeding hearts were designed to be worn in the cold. That is herbaceous perennial plants.

Papaveraceae, a member of the poppy family, adores pleasant spring breezes with its fluffy leaves, meaty stems, and heart-shaped blossoms.

Bleeding Heart dies back and prepares to enter dormancy during the hot summer months before putting on another exhibition the following year. But how can you be certain it will return?


What should you do to get your bleeding heart ready for the winter – or for unexpected cold snaps once it starts to grow again in the spring?

We’ll provide you with all the resources you need to help your Lamprocapnos spectabilis thrive in this tutorial. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about how to produce bleeding hearts, check out our guide to cultivating bleeding hearts.


The following is a list of things you’ll learn in this article:

Overwintering Bleeding Hearts: 5 Top Tips

It’s easy to prepare your lovely plants for the next few months of chilly weather. This job should be done in the late fall or early winter, in the weeks leading up to and following your area’s average first frost date.

Keep in mind that bleeding hearts are best suited to USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 9, which might experience drastically varied weather in the winter.

In the guidelines below, we’ll tell you whether you need to make any adjustments based on the growing zone in your location.

Before we get started, a word about terminology:

In the fall, an average first or last frost date refers to the first night of temperatures at or just below 32°F, and in the spring, it refers to the final night of temperatures at or just below 32°F.

A light freeze is a frost induced by temperatures at or just below 32°F, and the chilly temperatures usually last two to three hours.

A hard frost, also known as a hard freeze, develops when temperatures drop below 28°F for three to four hours or longer.

  1. Pruning the plants

Cutting bleeding hearts back in late summer or fall, or anytime the leaves have changed from yellow to brown and are nice and dead, is the first step in preparing them for cold weather.

The plant isn’t actually dead; it’s just gone dormant. The process of gathering energy from the sun via photosynthesis and delivering it to the roots for storage has been completed by the stems and leaves.

This is the time to trim back the dead foliage for the winter. Cut the stems down to two or three inches above the ground with pruners.

If the material isn’t sick or infested with aphids, you can add it to your compost pile. If you don’t want to burn it, dispose of it far away from your garden.

  1. Keep your flower garden clean.

The next step is to wipe out your flower garden. Remove any old, fallen leaves from your bleeding hearts and the plants in their immediate vicinity.

Slugs and aphids are both fonds of chewing the foliage of L. spectabilis, even though it isn’t regularly attacked by pests or diseases.

They’ll eat virtually everything else in your garden, so picking up plant debris helps to prevent them from overwintering in your flowerbeds and deter them from returning in the spring – or visiting for the first time.

  1. A water source

It’s tempting to think that once you’ve chopped your bleeding hearts to the ground, you can stop watering them, but don’t! At least not until the ground freezes.

By keeping the roots moist until the first cold, you can enhance the chances that your L. spectabilis will come back robust and healthy the following year.

According to Linda Chalker-Scott, horticulture at the Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center, if you cease watering in late summer or early fall, your plant may suffer from dry stress, which can diminish winter resistance.

Water the plants as usual during the growing season, giving them one deep soak each week if there isn’t any rain, until temperatures drop to 40°F or lower.

It may seem unusual to water only the dirt around a few plant stumps, but you’ll thank yourself when your bleeding hearts bloom in full force in the spring!

There’s no need to water your bleeding hearts after the first freeze until the earth thaws in the spring.

  1. Mulch to Keep Warm in the Winter

Apply a two-to three-inch layer of organic mulch material to the planting location after the first hard frost in your area.

Early in the season, heavy winter mulching might keep bleeding hearts too warm, resulting in new growth that will be killed by the first harsh freeze. Mice and other pests may be attracted to it.

As a result, if you reside in Zones 8 or 9, where strong freezes are less likely, it’s advisable to avoid mulching well-established plants in the winter.

According to Kris Wetherbee, an OregonLive garden and horticulture writer, by the time the cold arrives, the mice—and most likely other pests as well—will have relocated.

So, after the first freeze arrives, cover the clipped stalks as well as the root area. I mulch my entire flower garden to help all of my perennials overwinter!

If you like, you can use wood chips, chopped leaves, or bark instead of straw.

These forms of mulch will break down and add nutrients to the soil after completing their role in the winter.

In the spring, remove about half of the mulch to give your plants some breathing room as they begin to put on new growth, but leave some to degrade in the soil.

If you reside in a particularly cold and snowy climate, like Zone 3 or 4, the snow will fall on top of the mulch, creating an insulated refuge for your plant’s crown and root system.

This will help protect it from the coldest weather.

Even if you don’t live in a particularly snowy area, a covering of mulch on your plants can help protect them from temperature fluctuations and repetitive cycles of warming and freezing.

  1. Give potted plants and transplants a little extra TLC.

This is particularly critical for first-year bleeding hearts and transplants separated and transferred in the fall.

While older plants are cold-hardy, younger plants are more vulnerable to the environment. Plants planted in containers can also be harmed by the cold.

Mulch can assist in reducing frost heave, or the buckling of soil as a result of the winter’s shifting temperatures, preventing damage to young or freshly established roots while they’re grown in the ground.

It can also keep container-grown plants warm in the winter, though if you reside in Zones 3 or 4, you should bury the containers in the ground instead. Mother Nature is far more insulating than a container!

Dig a hole in the depth and width of the container in a low-traffic area of your yard to bury your potted bleeding heart. Fill the hole with soil and place the pot inside.

Mulch the area with that two-to three-inch layer of material, then make a note of it so you don’t forget.

If your container is too large or you don’t feel like digging a hole, wrap a three-to-four-inch layer of bubble wrap around it and place a three-to-four-inch layer of mulch over the top of the soil.

In the spring, clear away one inch of mulch, including whatever was on top of the old, cut-back plant growth, in order to preserve new growth.

Leave one to two inches of mulch on the ground to help insulate the roots through the early spring chill.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast for your area, and if temperatures are expected to drop into the mid to low the 30s, cover your plant with an empty bucket or another strong container for the night.

This should help protect the plant from the harshest frosts. Just remember to take it off when the weather warms up again in the morning!

In the Winter, Warm Hearts

It takes very little time or effort to get your bleeding hearts ready for the winter.

Wait until late winter or early spring to see fresh shoots poking through the mulch, and you’ll notice that the labour you put in to cover and prepare your beds was well worth it.

Have you ever tried to overwinter bleeding hearts before? Let us know in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share your questions and stories. We’d be delighted to hear from you!

Before you leave, take a look at these articles on how to winterize flowering perennials:

Papaveraceae, a member of the poppy family, adores pleasant spring breezes. Bleeding hearts die back and prepare to enter dormancy during the hot summer months. Cutting bleeding hearts back in late summer or fall is the first step in preparing them for cold weather. Cutting back the dead foliage of L. spectabilis plants is the first step in preparing them for the winter.

Mulch with organic mulch to keep their roots warm and provide a water source after the first freeze.

Mice and other pests may be attracted to the thick layer of mulch. Mulch can assist in reducing frost heave, or the buckling of soil as a result of the winter’s shifting temperatures.

It can also keep container-grown plants warm in the winter, though if you reside in Zones 3 or 4, you should bury the containers instead.

In the winter, overwinter bleeding hearts can be very difficult to care for. Wait until spring to see new growth poking through the mulch.


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