Content Detail

King of Hearts bleeding heart plants have intensely pink flowers that are a beautiful addition to a rustic or cottage garden. Their fernlike leaves are also beautiful, but with a long blooming season from late spring to early fall, the unique and vivid flowers are the real showstoppers. Butterflies and hummingbirds are also attracted to the King of Hearts bleeding heart.

  • Family (English) Poppy
  • Family (botanic) Papaveraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches), Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink
  • Shape or form Broad, Mounded, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Wildlife Butterflies, Hummingbirds

Size and method of spreading:

King of Hearts bleeding heart plants are often 8 to 18 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide at maturity. These are clump-forming plants. They can be spread by division if done in the early spring or right after the leaves have begun to die back around mid-to-late summer. 

Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)

This plant is of hybrid origin.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

King of Hearts bleeding heart attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Leaf description:

The leaves of King of Hearts bleeding heart are delicately divided (lobed) and are reminiscent of fern leaves. They are bluish-green in color and grow at the base of the plant (basal). 

Flower description:

The King of Hearts bleeding heart flowers are heart-shaped and vividly pink. The shape of the heart is made up of petals that have formed appendages (spurs) that look a bit like a partially inflated balloon heart. The flowers grow along a leafless stalk (raceme) that rises above the foliage. 

Fruit description:

This is an infertile hybrid, so King of Hearts bleeding heart does not produce fruit or seeds. 

Plant care:

Preferring partial shade, King of Hearts bleeding heart perennials can tolerate full shade but will have reduced numbers of blooms. These are low-maintenance plants that do well with a thin layer of compost followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to help with weed control and moisture retention. Deadheading can promote more buds to form. In late autumn, King of Hearts’ bleeding heart may be cut back to its base. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

King of Hearts bleeding hearts are deer and rabbit resistant. They are generally free of major disease but may have some issues with slugs, snails, or sawflies.


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