Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and their receptors, known to be essential regulators of embryonic patterning and organogenesis, are also critical for the regulation of cardiovascular structure and function. In addition to their contributions to syndromic disorders including heart and vascular development, BMP signalling is increasingly recognized for its influence on endocrine-like functions in postnatal cardiovascular and metabolic homeostasis. In this Review, we discuss several critical and novel aspects of BMP signalling in cardiovascular health and disease, which highlight the cell-specific and context-specific nature of BMP signalling. Based on advancing knowledge of the physiological roles and regulation of BMP signalling, we indicate opportunities for therapeutic intervention in a range of cardiovascular conditions including atherosclerosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension, as well as for anaemia of inflammation. Depending on the context and the repertoire of ligands and receptors involved in specific disease processes, the selective inhibition or enhancement of signalling via particular BMP ligands (such as in atherosclerosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension, respectively) might be beneficial. The development of selective small molecule antagonists of BMP receptors, and the identification of ligands selective for BMP receptor complexes expressed in the vasculature provide the most immediate opportunities for new therapies.