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How to Grow Bloodroot

Bloodroot Banner

Each spring, as the strengthening sun gradually warms the cold earth, the sparkling white flowers of our beloved native Bloodroot emerge to welcome the new season.

Plant just a small rhizome (or running rootstock) in your woodland garden and, in a few short years, it will expand into a substantial colony. Each spring you will be rewarded by a mass of pristine white flowers with yellow stamens that are abuzz with the first pollinators of the season. And, in cooler climates, Bloodroot also offers a bonus of scalloped leaves that create an attractive summer ground-cover.

When and Where to Plant Bloodroot

Bloodroot is most often planted as dormant rhizomes (underground stems), in spring or fall.

If you’re not able to plant them immediately, remove the rhizomes from their plastic bag, wrap them in wet paper towels and store them temporarily in the refrigerator.

Light: Partial sun to light shade

Soil: Choose a spot where the soil will be consistently moist throughout the season, but which does not get waterlogged. Amend your soil with plenty of compost before planting.

Spacing: Position three rhizome divisions approximately 1’ apart with enough surrounding space to eventually accommodate a colony up to three feet in diameter.

Planting: Dig down about an inch below the surface of the soil and position each rhizome horizontally. Cover with amended soil and mulch lightly with chopped leaves.

How to Plant Bloodroot 1
Our bloodroot is sold as a bareroot, and is typically this size
How to Plant Bloodroot 2
Make sure to give your bloodroot plenty of space, as the roots grow horizontally.
How to Plant Bloodroot 3
Burry about an inch under the soil surface, after amending your digging hole.

How to Grow Bloodroot Throughout the Season

Growth Habit: The spring flowers are approximately 6 inches high. By late summer the leaves eventually reach about 1 foot high.

Staking: No staking is needed.

Watering: Regular watering is not required for bloodroot grown in a shady spot with normally moist garden soil. However, in partial sun or if your soil tends to dry out, water weekly to prevent the leaves from going dormant during the summer.

Fertilizing: Commercial fertilizer is not recommended. However, a layer of good garden compost spread around the perimeter of the bloodroot colony will encourage its continued expansion.

Mulching: The ideal spring mulch is an inch or so of chopped decaying leaves around the plants. Do not use a heavy layer of bark mulch.

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Bloodroot Care: End of Season Care

Bloodroot is an early woodland bloomer
Bloodroot is one of the first woodland spring bloomers.

Overwintering: Sprinkle about an inch of chopped leaves over the rhizomes as a winter mulch.

Trimming & Pruning: None needed.

Dividing & Transplanting: You do not need to divide your Bloodroot unless you want to begin a new colony.

Pests & Disease: If grown in damp crowded conditions bloodroot is susceptible to slug damage and fungal diseases. So choose a spot that offers good air circulation and where the plants will not surrounded by taller plants or slug-prone plants like hostas. Also use a mechanical barrier to deter deer in springtime.

Additional Concerns: The reddish sap in the rhizomes can cause skin irritation so use gloves when handling.


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