Reader question… “In your article about bleeding hearts, you mentioned seed pods and baby plants. Is it possible to collect and plant bleeding heart seeds? I know the seed pods must come after the flowers, but I have never seen any on my bleeding hearts. Could you tell me what they look like?” –Pat K.
The seed pods appear very quickly after the flowers fall off. At first the seed pods will be a bright green and look like tiny green beans. They grow fast and soon you will be able to see the shape of the seeds inside. At this point if you opened a pod, the seeds would be perfectly round and clear or white in color.
After a few more weeks, the seed pods become dry and turn brown, and the seeds inside turn black. Within a few days the pods will open and the seeds will fall to the ground. If you want to collect the seed for planting, or collect the seed so you don’t end up with a multitude of baby bleeding hearts where you don’t want them, don’t leave any opened pods on the plant. Seeds should be allowed to dry on the plants before they are collected, though, if you want to plant them.
Apparently not all bleeding hearts are heavy seed producers, but any that I have grown certainly are. I thought I had picked off all the seed pods last year while they were still immature and green, and yet in the last few weeks I have been finding literally hundreds of small bleeding hearts grouped under the mature plants.
Bleeding heart seeds need to experience temperatures of 41°F or less for at least six weeks… three months is even better. Plant the seeds in the fall and give your seedlings soil that is rich in humus and is moist but well-drained, and they should thrive and flower within a few years.
Or… let them seed themselves and next spring you will have more bleeding heart seedlings than you will know what to do with!