- Bleeding heart is a twining vine that grows up to 15 feet long, producing evergreen leaves about 7 inches long. The plant produces panicles composed of five to 20 bell-shaped red and white flowers. Flowers have four stamens and are accented by elongated pistils. Cultivars include Delectum, a variety that produces pinkish red flowers; and Variegata, a variety that showcases cream and green variegated leaves. The vine flowers in the summer.
- A native to tropical West Africa, bleeding heart requires a warm environment with no frost. The plant may be cultivated in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 12, ideally in a location with morning sun and afternoon shade. The plant must be moved indoors if temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool temperatures, even indoors, cause leaves to drop. Indoor plants undergo winter dormancy and should be watered sparingly during this time. Move plant outdoors when winter frosts are over.
- Plant bleeding heart in a well-draining soil and water regularly, enough to keep the soil moist to the touch but not wet or waterlogged. Fertilize during the growing season, withholding fertilizer completely in the winter. Cut back the plant after flowering to promote new growth. Bleeding heart is tolerant of heavy pruning and performs best if old growth is removed. Check indoor plants occasionally for mealy bugs and spider mites.
- Bleeding heart is a versatile plant that can be used to fill a variety of roles in the garden. It works well on a container trellis or doorway arch, as it does not typically grow large enough to cover a fence or arbor. The plant may be pinched back and grown in a container or in a hanging basket where its foliage can spill over the sides. Bleeding heart can be grown as a houseplant if given direct sunlight.