Bleeding Heart Vine

A Bleeding Heart plant, native to tropical west Africa, is grown for its masses of beautiful bi-colored flowers. Each flower on a Bleeding Heart plant is made up of a corolla or inner group of bright red petals that emerge from a white calyx or outer part of the flower. The Bleeding Heart plant’s nickname, the “Bag Plant” refers to the shape of the outer white petals. When planted in a container, a Bleeding Heart Plant can grow up to 3 feet in length, outside in tropical areas, it often reaches 15 feet. This lovely plant has twining stems with large attractive dark green leaves. You can place a trellis in your container to help a Bleeding Heart plant grow tall or place it in a hanging basket. A Bleeding Heart plant is a very poisonous plant and should be kept way from small children and pets. Read more about common houseplants that can be dangerous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants . The brighter the light the more flowers a Bleeding Heart plant produces.

Plant Care


A Bleeding Heart plant loves very bright light but no direct sun. The brighter the light, the more blossoms a Bleeding Heart Vine produces.


Keep the soil of a Bleeding Heart plant moist in the spring and summer but not soggy. When a Bleeding Heart plant is resting in the fall and winter, place it in a cool location and water infrequently. Never use ice cold water.


Feed every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength when the plant is actively growing.


A Bleeding Heart does well in regular household temperatures in the spring and summer, but likes cooler temperatures between 55°-60°F (12.8°C-15.6°C) when it is resting in the late fall and winter.


Bleeding Heart plants grow better when there is high humidity in the spring and summer and normal household humidity the rest of the year.


A Bleeding Heart plant usually flowers from March through October (spring through summer) when it is getting very bright light. The number of flowers gradually decreases as Fall approaches.


Bleeding Heart plants are seldom bothered by pests, but every once in a while Spider Mites and Mealy Bugs can be a problem.


Botrytis Blight is a plant disease that affects Bleeding Heart plants; but can be prevented by keeping the plant in an area with good air circulation from a fan or a window breeze.


Use a rich organic soil that drains quickly for a Bleeding Heart plant.

Pot Size

Re-pot every year, during the spring, to the next size pot and never anything larger. Be sure there are drip holes in the bottom of the pot.


A Bleeding Heart plant has long, weak stems that need to be pruned back in the late fall after the plant has finished blooming. Pruning encourages the plant to become bushier. Since the beautiful flowers of a Bleeding Heart plant only develop on the new growth, it’s important to cut the plant back only after it blooms.


Propagate a Bleeding Heart plant from stem tip cuttings in the late spring or summer. Always use a sterile potting soil to prevent Botrytis and other fungal infections from developing. A Bleeding Heart plant can also be propagated by seeds in the early spring.

Resting Period

A Bleeding Heart plant goes dormant and rests during the winter; this helps it grow well during the rest of the year. From mid-November to mid-February, keep a Bleeding Heart plant in a cool room out of direct sunlight, water only when the soil is dry, and do not fertilize. The plant may lose some or most of its leaves during this period; but new leaves sprout from the roots of what appears to be dead wood in the spring, when you move the plant to a bright location.

Poisonous Plant Info

Bleeding Heart Plants are poisonous houseplants with a level #3 toxicity. Quite a bit of the plant needs to be eaten before there is a serious problem. However, small children, small dogs, and other pets should be kept away from this plant.


Can I Plant a Bleeding Heart Plant Outside?

A Bleeding Heart plant will grow well outside especially if you live where the temperature does not go below freezing in the winter. If the temperature does dip below freezing, the plant loses its leaves but will regrow from the roots in the spring.

How Do I Get a Blooming Heart Plant to Bloom? I Have Had My Bleeding Heart Vine for Several Years, No Flowers but Otherwise the Plant Looks Great and Is Producing Lots of New Leaves.

I think you are watering your Bleeding Heart plant correctly and giving it enough light or it wouldn’t be growing well and producing new leaves. In order for a Bleeding HeartPlant to produce flowers you need to prune it back in the late fall after the plant has finished blooming. Since the flowers of a Bleeding Heart plant develop on the new growth, it’s important to cut the plant back after it blooms. Bleeding Heart Vines need to rest during the fall and winter in order to bloom. Lastly, check to see if the plant is root bound, if so move it to the next size pot. A Bleeding Heart Vine will not bloom if the roots are too crowded.

Is a Bleeding Heart Plant Really Poisonous? I Put My Bleeding Heart Vine Outside for the Summer and When I Brought It in I Found There Were Caterpillars Nibbling on It. I Thought My Bleeding Heart Vine Was Poisonous So How Do Caterpillars Munch on It and Still Live?

A Bleeding Heart plant is a poisonous plant, but caterpillars are the one little pest that seems immune to the toxin. In fact, if another animal eats a caterpillar after it has munched on a Bleeding Heart plant, that animal becomes ill. I have found that Neem Oil works well in getting rid of plant pests on a Bleeding Heart plant and does not harm the plant.