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Heart-leaved Bergenia

Bergenia cordifolia  • 

Photo: Heart-leaved Bergenia

General description

They are clump-forming, rhizomatous, evergreen perennials with a spirally arranged rosette of leaves 6–35 cm long and 4–15 cm broad, and pink flowers produced in a cyme.[2] The leaves are large, leathery, ovate or cordate, and often have wavy or saw-toothed edges. For most of the year, the leaves have a glossy green colour, but in cooler climates, they turn red or bronze in the fall. The flowers grow on a stem similar in colour to a rhubarb stalk and most varieties have cone-shaped flowers in varying shades of pink. These can range from almost white to ruby red and purple.[3]

The common names for Bergenia are pigsqueak (due to the sound produced when two leaves are rubbed together), elephant's ears (due to the shape of the leaves) and large rockfoil.

Plant requirements

Bergenia are hardy plants that can grow in climates with extreme temperature ranges from about −35 °F (−37 °C) to 115 °F (46 °C). They prefer sun but will grow in shady areas as well. Plants can grow to about 24 in (61 cm) tall and 24 in (61 cm) wide. They do well in most soils, but moist, humus-rich soil is preferable. Exposure and dry soils tend to stunt growth, but can enhance the winter leaf colours. In areas with cold, strong winter winds, protection from the wind may be required.[3] They are propagated by division or rooted rhizome sections.[2]


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Practical use

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30 - 40 cm