Move bleeding heart

jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)May 7, 2013

Is is ok to move a bleeding heart at this time of year? Mine are just peeking up through the soil, and I have one I would like to move to a different location.
This is the old fashioned kind.

Jenny P

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I moved several when they were just poking through the soil, last month here. They have done very well and are definitely larger than last year so I don't think it set them back.

ETA: For the last couple of years I have volunteered with a local garden group that hosts a large and well organized plant sale each spring. They dig up large quantities of shade perennials in the weeks leading up to the sale. I have been repeatedly impressed by how well the plants adjust to this treatment and eventual planting into their new gardens. This experience has encouraged me to be a bit more adventurous in my transplanting endeavors. So far I have had success. I do make an effort to get a decent root ball and to have the new hole ready before I dig out the plant, but I still sometimes forget.

This post was edited by trovesoftrilliums on Tue, May 7, 13 at 20:01

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:58PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

I wonder if I could just split it, leave some in the current location, and some to the new spot.

I am torn, this spot is very shady, and you walk past on your way to my front door. In the past I have had heuchera planted there, and while it looks good for maybe 2 years, eventually they die out. This year I lost all 3. Old fashioned bleeding hearts seem to do well here, but I worry about what it will look like later in the summer. Maybe I should put some Helleborus in there, I do have some on the other side of this bed, and they seem to do well.

Oh the dilemma!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:26PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

my experience is that they have one giant carrot-like branched root ... and are NOT splittable ... unless you have many planted together .....

but if you have many.. how else are you going to learn.. unless you go for it ...


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:04AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

I have found that if the bleeding heart is at the barely breaking through the soil, you can split the "fat carrot" into pieces like you would a potato. There must be an "eye" on each piece. I've split a big bleeding heart into seven pieces, potted five up, put one back in the original hole and planted one in another place. All did well and the biggest two pieces I potted up even bloomed before I took them to a plant swap. But I've found this only works during the short period when the bleeding heart is just breaking dormancy.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:54AM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

OH thank you! I think I will try this. I don't have many funds available for my gardens this year, this will solve one issue and free up some money for a different one.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 1:24PM
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I think I'm glad I didn't read this last week - I might have gotten too scared to divide my bleeding heart! It was actually budding, and I split it into 4 pieces, and they all seem to be surviving, and one is actually so healthy-looking, I can barely believe I just divided it. It had several pieces of root, fwiw.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 3:40PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

I imagine the bigger the root piece, the easier it will support more top leaf. Of course the cool temperatures also means ithe plant doesn't need to uptake as much water to support the leaves. All of this plays into surviving a dividing. The divisions can even survive a sudden heat wave with leaves and buds intake if you give it enough water.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:58PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I have divided and moved Dicentra when it was just poking up and they took very well to that.

Jennypat, Hosta make a great companion to Dicentra, because they fill in and cover over the empty spots where the Dicentra has gone dormant. They like similar conditions too.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 6:48PM
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jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

Thank you everyone! I am still considering companions, Hosta's don't work for me, I have to many deer wander through, and don't want to encourage them!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 6:51PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

If you have the room for the height and are in part shade rather than full shade you might consider aconitum or turtle head as companions that bloom late in the summer/fall

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:08AM
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Can a bleeding heart be moved after it has gone dormant? We've lost the tree that provided shade to that bed, and it is now in full sun. I've been busy moving things to other areas, but the bleeding heart got ahead of me and is blooming now. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:54AM
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lettsbets: yes, from my experience. I've found bleeding heart fairly forgiving of transplanting in any season.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 10:28AM
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Bleeding heart/Dicentra spectabilis is incredibly tough despite its delicate looks. It's growing here in full shade as well as full sun and under the most amazing circumstances. A plant that used to grow up through cracked concrete steps for many years apparently got trampled when the stairway was dug up & made wider. It has apparently survived the trauma and now grows where the soil was moved from the bottom of the steps to the top of the short, steep slope.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:31AM
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terrene(5b MA)

After they've gone dormant is probably the best time to move them! Gives them the rest of the season to establish some nice new roots.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 8:24PM
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Thank you for your advice and reassurance. I've never moved one before, but I'm worrying a lot less now.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 11:59PM
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