Bergenia cordifolia

16 Aug

Rogue Bergenia cordifolia flower (25/07/2011, London)

Rogue Bergenia cordifolia flower (25/07/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained soil

Flowering period: Spring

Eventual Height: 45cm

Eventual Spread: 60cm

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Saxifragaceae

Bergenia cordifolia is an evergreen perennial with a clump forming habit. Its leathery leaves are rounded, puckered and crinkle-edged and its inflorescence is in the form of racemes composed of open, cup-shaped, light pink, hermaphroditic flowers that are borne in spring on upright stalks, similar in colour to rhubarb. The leaves may turn rust brown during the winter months.

Bergenia cordifolia, commonly known as Elephant’s Ears or Heart-Leaf Bergenia, is native to eastern Asia, including Siberia and Mongolia.

The etymological root of the binomial name Bergenia was named after Karl August von Bergen, an 18th century German physician and botanist, with cordifolia being derived from the Latin, meaning ‘heart-shaped leaf’.

Bergenia cordifolia (25/07/2011, London)

Bergenia cordifolia (25/07/2011, London)

The landscape architect may find Bergenia cordifolia useful as an effective low maintenance ground cover plant. In colder climates its foliage can add hues of red and purple to an autumnal scheme. Once this plant is established it is drought tolerant.

The Royal Horticultural Society gave the cultivar Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Bergenia cordifolia will tolerate almost any soil conditions; it will be happy at neutral, alkaline or acid pH levels, in loam, sand, chalk or clay based soils, facing any sheltered or exposed aspect. It dislikes hot dry conditions.

Ecologically, Bergenia cordifolia will attract many species of pollinating insects such as honey bees and butterflies. The foliage is also attractive as food for terrestrial gastropods

Bergenia cordifolia requires little to no maintenance. Flower heads may be removed if untidy or faded. It may be lifted and divided in early spring.

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4 Responses to “Bergenia cordifolia”

  1. Fiona 16/08/2011 at 14:07 #

    Hi there. Just wanted to say that I love your blog – it’s great for me as a beginner plantswoman to have a daily dose of horticulture that I stand a chance of remembering! I also wanted to make a suggestion – that you could also note what plants the Plant of The Week (Day?!) is being planted with, so that we can have some idea of what schemes it would work well in. Thanks, and keep up the good blogging!

    • Davis Landscape Architecture 16/08/2011 at 16:55 #

      Fiona, thanks for taking the time to let me know you like the blog, it means a lot. I remember when I started my studies in horticulture, I found a real hunger for knowledge and an excitement in learning new plant species. Regarding plant of the week, it started off as that then slowly developed into a daily event, I decided to keep the name. Thanks for the suggestion. We do try to suggest what type of planting schemes or locations the plants are suitable for, usually from the perspective of a landscape architect. I the future we will try to include possible companion plants or types of plant the featured plant will compliment. Once again, thanks for your vote of support.

  2. Dotty 26/02/2013 at 18:01 #

    I have plenty of these bergenia in my garden, I refer to them as elephant’s ears. I’m doing my BBKA basic and need to know which plants the bees will go to to collect nectar and/or pollen. Thank you for your useful and timely information.

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