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 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.
Bloodroot Care: End of Season Care