How deep to plant bare root white bleeding heart?

linnea56(z5 IL)March 21, 2012

At a Flower and Garden show 2 days ago I bought some bare root white Bleeding Hearts. They look very fresh to me, not dry at all, and have shoots about 2 inches high. With the extremely warm weather we have been having, I think I need to get these in the ground as soon as possible. (Tell me if I have this wrong). I have not grown these before, and do not know how deep to plant them. The roots are quite long: like 6 inches. Should they go straight down? Or sideways, like having the roots parallel to the ground surface?

What conditions do they like? I have tried growing seedlings several times, but they never survived. I am hoping have these big fresh roots will make a difference. I have shade, but most of it is rooty shade under ash trees, therefore tends to be drier. Hostas and astilbe live there, though. Can they handle that, or do they need shade that does not have tree roots? Thanks!

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terrene(5b MA)

I just got a Dicentra spectablis 'Alba' last year. I also have several of the pink ones too, but they are growing in separate beds. They are all growing in mostly shade, with a well-drained soil. The pink ones are growing close to the hose, so they get more water, which they probably like, nevertheless IIRC the white one retained its foliage longer than the pink.

Mine bloom in early-mid May and that could be 2 weeks earlier this year, so I would get yours in the ground ASAP. I have never planted bare-root, however, they have been very easy to divide and transplant and would guess that the roots would do best if they fan out?

Lovely plants - these are the pink ones from last year - they bloomed well despite having been divided the fall before, into 4 different plants. I expect them to be much bigger this Spring because the pink ones get huge. I have a pic of the white one but not on this computer. I expect a bigger show on that one this Spring too.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 3:09AM
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The recommended way to plant would be to form a cone of soil in the planting hole and to spread the roots down over & around the cone. This allows for maximum root establishment as well as stability for the top growth. The base of the plant should be flush/even with the level of the soil in the bed. In other words, the roots should be below ground while all plant material/upper growth should be above.

My white bleeding heart is growing in full shade on the north side of my house. It gets no supplemental water but since it blooms in spring, there's generally sufficient natural moisture in the form of rain. The plant goes completely dormant, foliage & stems die back after it blooms. I planted hosta on both sides and behind it as well as Carex 'Icedance' in front of it to take the stage when the BH is past its season.

In this photo, the white BH is growing directly beneath the shepherd's hook/windchime in the top third of the picture

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 9:46AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Those pics look great!

Nice colony you have got there, Terrene. I see that you have trees behind, but the roots are probably not near. I will probably site 2 under my ash trees, and hope supplemental water will compensate for the trees sucking so much away. I will put the third one in a nook next to my house, where 2 walls meet, where there are no roots.

Cone of soil, that's a good idea, gardenweed. I could see that, with these roots. They are chunky like daylilies but long.

I have tried these before but they were always very small plants.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:52PM
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linnea56 - glad you got the "cone" idea. I buy a lot of bare-root perennials every year, mostly from Costco since they guarantee money back if the plants don't grow. I've had to return a few that were "dead" rather than "dormant." One of my perennial How To books illustrates the technique of digging the planting hole and building up a cone of soil in the middle, then spreading the roots around the cone like a bridal gown or petticoat over it. Fill in with soil around the roots & cone, firm gently and you're done. Oh, and water for a week or so especially if you don't get any regular rain. Once they're established you shouldn't have to do anything for (or to) them.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:35PM
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